Well I don’t know about you but I love winter right up until the day after Christmas, then I am so over it! I want sunshine, 80 degrees, green grass and birds chirping. I hate to be cold and I hate to shiver. Here in Colorado it’s pretty when it snows but when it melts, everything is brown and dead. Ugh!
I have known for a while that I get the “January Blues” but recently I have noticed that it affects a lot of my students too. If you look online or ask around you will find many different reasons that people feel gloomy in the winter. There is low vitamin D, less physical activity that causes less endorphins, let down after Christmas, etc. Since I can’t pack up my whole classroom and teach on a beach in Mexico for the next two and a half months, I have tried to brainstorm some ways to help my students and me survive the winter!
- Ease Into It: Getting into the school routine again is hard for teachers let alone little five year olds. Kids have been staying up late, watching cartoons in the morning and not getting dressed until noon every day. (Teachers too, right?!?) When the kiddos come back to school, it’s a great time to review concepts, take things slow and build up your relationship again. If you start things too fast and furious I have found that everyone eventually just melts down. Also remember yourself while you are easing your students into school. Plan something relaxing to do after school, buy your favorite yummy coffee drink and savor it! Being nice to yourself helps you be nice to your students :0)
- Go Outside: Sunshine on your face, wind in your hair… even if it’s cold go outside with your students! Wear that warm jacket and cute scarf you got for Christmas and make yourself go outside. The outdoors is a wonderful classroom that we forget about as soon as it turns cold. Even just a 15 minute “nature walk” can really help lift everyone’s spirits!
- Get Moving: There is never a more important time for Brain Breaks and movement in your classroom than 3rd quarter. When your heart gets pumping, your body feels happier. But don’t forget to play along with your kids. Turn on a Go Noodle video, play “Thumbkin” or do some stretches in between lessons. When you are having fun doing these activities your kiddos will buy into it even more. It can’t hurt right?
- Turn On Some Music: This one seems so easy but I forget to do it all the time. Music can really turn your frown upside down :0) Play a little background classical music during center time, play a fun and upbeat song during snack time, sing fun learning songs together at circle time. And who knows, while the music is playing you might just feel the need for a little dance party…
- Think Happy Thoughts: This is the hardest one for sure. Yes it’s January, yes it’s cold, blah blah blah but don’t let yourself spiral! Count your blessings and make a list with your students about their blessings too. Set small goals for yourself to get done and celebrate when you finish. Put some of your favorite quotes in your classroom that help you feel encouraged. The more you can try to change your frame of mind the better you will feel. I try to give myself a few minutes to mentally complain, throw a little pity party and then I try to move on. Like Dr. Suess says…
I hope these suggestions can help your winter months seem a little brighter. I know even sitting down and writing them out made me feel a little bit better. But if all else fails, book that plane flight to Mexico for Spring Break! Any other ideas on how you beat the January Blues?
Stay warm and cozy!