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Holidays wreaking havoc with my mental health

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by omega-squared, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. omega-squared

    omega-squared New commenter

    I am in my second year of teaching and although one of the perks of being a teacher is the sheer amount of holiday you get (I've been told I get 13 weeks off per year) I sometimes wonder whether I get too much holiday. This is because of the sudden change of pace and also that my teaching job is the only thing that adds routine to my life. Without that, I slip into bad habits (e.g. sleeping in till late) and become depressed. I am quite young (25) have no family or relationship commitments and all my friends are in full-time employment so it's not like I can easily go and visit them while I am off. There are also little conventions and events that last several days that I wish I could go to, but due to not being able to book time off of work I cannot attend them in full. Similarly, I would love to be able to have odd breaks with uni friends and family but it seems I cannot do this either. It appears that I would rather have fewer holidays but more flexibility to do what I want with them, rather than have whole weeks off and wonder what the heck I'm supposed to do with my free time. And then when the break finishes, I often feel like I should have been more productive and that I've wasted all this free time.

    Have I gone completely mad or does anyone else get affected by the holidays in this way? Moreover, how do you find ways to pass the time?
    caress and frangipani123 like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I think it's a common problem. I certainly accomplish more during term time than during the holidays. And a lot of teachers find that the breakdown of routine and the sudden leisure time is a shock to the system.

    Try to stick to a routine. Get up at the usual time, make sure that your evening routine is much the same.
    If all else fails - just go to school and plan or resource lessons.
    frangipani123 likes this.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I agree. And then some people are frightened of retirement too. I had a colleague who was frightened of getting depressed during holidays. I suppose it goes with constantly trying to handle an impossible workload in term time and not having a life out of work. Or that's just me perhaps.
    1 person likes this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I think it's true for a lot of us. Teaching is basically shift work, but the shifts are six weeks long.
  5. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Yes! I was thinking about this just yesterday. As soon as the break starts, my mind starts to go crazy. I find in the holidays I get obsessive about my health and start over analysing things. I too don't have many people to see in the holidays.
    What I do try to do, is plan something to get out of the house each day (even just a walk to the local shop) and try to get out running. I also try to set myself mini tasks like reading a whole book or doing some drawing, cleaning the bathroom (horrible), clearing some clothes, watching tv (yes I actually set this as a task!), cooking something for tea (instead of a ready meal!), surfing on here, doing some Xmas shopping, etc.

    I've actually just joined my local gym today, in a bid to get out and about a bit more and to keep me exercising through the winter. I'm hoping it will help with the stir-craziness as well.

    I always regret my holidays when I'm back at work and wish I'd done something with them, but it's tricky to think of things on your own. I try to make sure I don't work too much too. Although this break I find myself continually thinking about work.

    During term time, I'm totally rational, organised, motivated and a 'normal' person. Come the holidays I'm disorganised, lazy, no motivation (even to get up / get off the sofa). I think it's the change in structure. I also hate instagram because of the photos my colleagues post of them having a wonderful time!
    felicity5183 likes this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Maybe try to change your mindset about what is a bad habit and what not? What you need to do and what not?

    Using the holidays to get up very late isn't a bad habit, it is a justifiable luxury.
    Going to the theatre/cinema/out for lunch/etc doesn't require friends and family. Go by yourself. Though with a good book or magazine for company when out for lunch.
    Go for a short break in a UK city and do some sightseeing by yourself. It's a whole different world on a week day.
    Reading books/naff magazines/watching endless box sets isn't being unproductive, it's allowing your brain to switch off after a mad term/half term.

    Relax and enjoy what you have and being what you are.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  7. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Senior commenter

    I completely get how you are feeling OP. I've been teaching 20+ years and this feeling of being a spare part in the holidays has increased gradually over the last few years. I put the reason down to workload. I love my job but going from working at a hundred miles per hour to nothing is tough. I have a solid routine that suits me well in term time and I agrees with other posters I get much more done in school weeks than holiday weeks.

    I make sure I get out a few times every day - dog walking, local shop, place to visit.

    I do get bored though and was pleased to go back to work in September.

    Humans need to be productive - the devil makes work for idle hands!!!!

    In my early days the workload was much more realistic so the transition from school to holiday was never a problem.

    Having said all this I still do love the holidays and see it as one of the few perks left of being a teacher.
  8. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I used to feel the same way about the 6 week holiday especially, before I had children. I now work in a different sector with slightly fewer holidays, but no stress, and fully flexible within reason. I still manage to take a break every 7 weeks or so and a 2 week summer break in a cheaper time.

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