As educators, you probably don’t have a whole lot of free time to do the things that you enjoy. That’s why it is super important to be intentional with the time that you do have. With a little intention, you can spend your free time doing meaningful activities that feed your soul, rather than things that end up making you feel more tired, stressed, or unfulfilled.
Spending your free time wisely will help you to feel more fulfilled, better rested, and increase your ability to deal with the many stressors of teaching small humans in a less-than-ideal environment. In this video, I share 4 criteria to help you decide which free time activities are worthy of your attention.
If you prefer to read rather than watch, there is a transcript below.
Hey there teachers. As an educator, you probably don’t have a whole lot of free time, that time when you can really do the things that you enjoy. And because it is kind of a limited resource, it’s really important that you make most of it. In this video, I want to give you a new way to think about the time that is yours and how you spend it so that it will benefit you both when you’re actually having fun and doing your activity, and later when you’re back at work.
I’m Rachel Lynette. You may know me from Minds in Bloom, from Teachers Pay Teachers, or for my newest venture Teacher self-Care. And today we’re going to talk about having fun about free time, about time that is yours, even if it’s really limited.
One way to think about the activities that you choose to do during your free time is to think about it on a spectrum. On this continuum, the far left you have the more, I guess, low-quality fun, like the fast food of fun. It’s easy, but it’s not going to serve you real well as far as self-care goes. And then on the other side, you’ve got the more high-quality fun, the things that really feed your soul. When we think about activities that you might want to do during your free time, I wanted you to look at them in four different ways.
The first kind of aspect of these activities that we are going to look at is access. How easy is the access to this activity? And things on this side tend to be really easy access. We often use them for distraction, for quick entertainment. Maybe not to feel something, maybe you’re feeling restless or bored, or even a little sad or angry, and you don’t want to feel it anymore. So you reach for your phone and you scroll Facebook, or you look at TikTok videos, or you do little puzzles, or you flip on the TV or you go get a snack when you’re not really hungry, you reach for a drink. You shop for things on Amazon that you don’t need. The access is really easy. It’s right at your fingertips.
Whereas things on this side, a little further up, tend to be things that take some forethought and planning. Maybe you love gardening. Maybe that really feeds your soul. Well, you can’t just go out and garden. You have to plan it. You have to have a place for it. You have to buy seeds. You have to know about what things grow where. There’s a lot of forethought that goes into planning a garden. Maybe you want to do some art or a craft. It’s the same thing. You have to gather materials. You might need to take a class or watch some YouTube videos on how to do it. Think about travel. The same. It takes planning. It’s not just right there. So those things that are more authentic to who you are, they tend to take a little more planning.
The second quality is how passive or active it is. Things on this side, they tend to be more passive. You’re not really all that involved when you are scrolling on a phone or watching TV. It’s not really taking a lot of your energy. Facebook friends often aren’t real friends. Whereas when you are headed on this side, things tend to be more active with both your brain and your body. Think about playing a sport that you love. My sport is tennis, and I can tell you there’s a lot of brain work. There’s a lot of form to learn. There’s rules, there’s strategy, but there’s also a lot that involves your body. Of course, you’re swinging the racket and running around the court. And that’s true with any sport, it involves both your body and your brain. And you might really love doing some kind of active sport.
Think about playing a musical instrument. That too takes your brain and your body. You’ve got to read the sheet music. You’ve got to learn the instrument, play it, use your mouth, use your hands, whatever it is. So those activities that are further along this side are more active in both your body and your mind.
The third quality has to do with connection. When you are over here, there’s often not a lot of feelings of connection that’s going along with the activity. Whereas if you are over here, there often are. So maybe you are going out with friends or you dinner with your extended family and you’re feeling connected to people. Maybe you go out for a hike in nature or do some other activity outdoors, and now you’re feeling connected to nature. Maybe it’s something, feeling a deeper connection with yourself. Maybe you’re doing some journaling, some meditation, yoga, those types of things, and you’re feeling that deeper connection with your own self. Or maybe it’s a connection with whatever divinity is to you, to your God, to the universe, whatever that might be to you. Doing spiritual things, ceremonies, rituals, church, synagogue. Those connections tend to be more on this side.
Finally, the last one is that when you’re hanging out on this side, you don’t tend to get anything good afterwards. So while you’re doing this activity, you’re watching TV, you’re eating, you are doing whatever the thing is. It feels really good in the moment. And it does help to distract you from whatever you don’t want to feel. And it can be awesome. And I do want to say at this point that I’m not really meaning to knock this side. Sometimes you really need that. Sometimes you need to just crash in front of the TV. We all need those things. Sometimes you need fast food. It’s all good. The fast food side of this is fine. You just don’t want to spend your whole life on this side.
So when I say nothing good comes from it, you don’t really remember… A year later, you don’t remember, that time I scrolled Facebook, that time I watched that TV show, that time I played words with friends. I mean, you don’t really remember that stuff later. You don’t get a good memory. You don’t produce anything like you do if you’re creating an art project or learning a new instrument. It just is in the moment and it might even leave you with something bad. You might feel guilty for wasting so much time doing nothing of any real value. You might have a hangover. You might gain a pound. So, that’s another hallmark. It doesn’t leave you with anything good, whereas this side certainly does. If nothing else, you’re left with an awesome memory, an awesome memory of that trip or that time you had with friends. You might be left with, “I knitted a hat.” How cool is that? “I learned a new song on the clarinet.” “I’m building muscle because every day I go to my Zumba class,” or whatever it is.
So often ones on this side come with a feeling of accomplishment, an actual product, an actual tangible thing or memories.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is indeed a spectrum. So things aren’t either just this way or that way. They could be anywhere along the whole spectrum. So even the same activity could be in a different place depending on the situation and your own mood. Take watching TV, for example. Say that you’re going to watch… It’s Saturday night. Now it might be further along this side if you really wanted to be with other people on Saturday night. You really wanted to be with friends, but they were busy, or with your spouse, but he decided to go out with a friend. Instead of being with people, you are all alone and that’s not what you wanted. And so you flip on the TV and you just watch whatever’s on. And it’s some stupid reality show or family feud or whatever. And it’s not even anything you really wanted to watch, but you just watch it anyway. That’s a really low quality experience that’s not going to be real good for your self-care.
But watching TV can also be higher up on the scale. Let’s say again, it’s Saturday night and you’re alone, but this time, what you’re watching is different. This is something that you recorded five years ago, you recorded the finale to a show on TV that you have been watching and that you’ve been looking forward to all week. You haven’t been looking at social media or talking to your friends about it because you don’t want any spoilers. All week long you’ve been running around, taking care of everybody else’s needs, your students, your family, your kids. And now you just want an hour to watch your show. It’s Saturday night and your spouse has taken the kids somewhere else. To the arcade, to the bowling alley, to the park, whatever. They are not in the house and your house is blessedly quiet and you can curl up on the couch and watch the show that you’ve been really looking forward to. That experience is much higher on the spectrum than the other one of just flipping channels to whatever.
So when you think about the time that is truly yours, think about how you want to spend it. Of course, you’re going to be all over the spectrum and that is totally fine. And it’s fine to be on the far left. Try to make sure that at least some of your activities are on the far right, because that is how you feed your soul and that is better for your self-care and will make you feel when it is time to go back to work.
Thank you so much for spending some of your incredibly valuable time with me. Please consider subscribing or watching another video. Go out there and be the amazing teacher that you are and remember to be kind to yourself.
If you thought this post was worth your time, you could help this sprouting blog and earn my eternal thanks by:
- Sharing this post on social media.
- Leaving a comment.
- Subscribing to the Teach YourSelf Care email at the top of this page so you’ll never miss a post.
Thanks so much for stopping by!