The holidays are over, and it’s that time again – going back to school after winter break. It can be exhausting for teachers both mentally and physically, but there are ways to help you cope with the change from holiday mode to work mode. Here are some ideas to try out as you dive back into the school year.

Take Care of Your Body

Winter break typically involves a lot of rich foods and inertia, which leave you less than prepared for full days back in the classroom. Rather than starting an intense diet and workout regimen in the new year, ease into fitness. Bring a protein-packed lunch and stow plenty of nuts and fruits in your desk for snacks. Avoid the leftover Christmas cookies in the teachers’ lounge as much as possible!

After a couple of weeks of being a couch potato, returning to constant standing all day can cause serious foot pain, especially if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. Make sure you have an appropriate shoe insole to provide the support and cushioning you need throughout the day. Remember to walk around the room at times instead of staying in one place at the front of the room, and plan some post-holiday classroom activities, such as small group work, that allow you to sit down from time to time to rest your feet and legs.

Don't Forget Your Mental Health

Hopefully, you were able to recharge over the break and come back to school full of energy. If that’s not quite the case, plan some downtime in your day. It can be overwhelming to go from the peace of a quiet home to the demands of your students. Some after winter break classroom activities that allow you to step back include in-class writing assignments, quiet reading time and even designated time for homework completion.

Your students may be grateful to have some unstructured time to themselves in the day as well, as they are also struggling with getting back into the swing of the academic year after their own break. Putting a little fun and whimsy into your lesson plans can also be helpful to remind both you and your class that school isn’t all work and no play.

What are some of your favorite post-holiday classroom activities?