A summer recipe for healing and renewal, joy, and…staying in the fight! …What is your recipe?
I’m exhausted, how about you? As I sat down to write the quarterly letter to go out with our June newsletter, I found myself asking – what do people need to hear right now? Typically, at this time of year, there is a kind of frenetic energy as everyone gets ready for the end of the school year. Yes, usually everyone’s tired – teachers, students, and parents – but there is an excitement about the light at the end of the tunnel and the promise of a break when that final bell rings. But this year feels a little different. This year it feels like summer is coming in more as a lifeline than a mere energizer. There is a heaviness in everyone I meet. It seems to be a combination of exhaustion, anger, hopelessness, and helplessness. People are exhausted by the relentlessness of horrific news, angry over divisive rhetoric and lack of action, hopeless that things will ever change, and helpless to know how to fix it.
I recognize these emotions in myself as well as those around me and started to think about how to combat them. There is no easy answer, no quick fix to make everything easier or feel better. But maybe we can collectively use the summer for what it is – a change in routine, a transition point, an excuse to pause and think differently. I came up with a recipe for myself about how I want to use the summer to re-energize and refresh, but also to stay focused on my commitments and not let complacency or discouragement take over. Everyone’s recipe is different. I invite you to come up with your own list of ways you will heal and renew, stay in the fight, and find moments of pure joy.
3 Things to Help me Heal and Renew
- I am going to get 8 hours of sleep at least twice a week.
- I am going to meditate for 10 minutes each morning.
- I am going to block off 4 hours every week for focused work time with no meetings.
3 Things to Help me Stay in the Fight
- I’m going to use the extra time I have in the morning (once I don’t have to get 3 kids out the door at a crazy hour) to finally read Between the World and Me and Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man both of which have been sitting on my desk for some months.
- I’m going to continue to attend our organization’s bi-weekly lunch and learn sessions to engage in discussion with my colleagues, members of our board, and community partners about issues of race, power, and privilege.
- I’m going to work with our team this summer to continue to identify and articulate the intersections between SEL, restorative practices, and the New York State Education Department’s Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education Framework.
3 Things to Bring Pure Joy
- I’m going to swim with my kids – in Lake Ontario, at the pool, and in the frigid waters of Maine when we go on vacation. Maybe I’ll even jump off that dock they always dare me to try!
- I’m going to drink my coffee on my patio every morning.
- I’m going to eat ice cream. A lot.