Running on Empty? You Need a “Refill Station”

Running on Empty? You Need a “Refill Station”

This spring, many educators and administrators experienced working from home for the first time. We were teaching, leading, and planning in the same spaces where we cook, clean, parent children, care for pets, exercise, relax, and sleep. Our work life and home life suddenly merged without any time to plan or prepare. Long-established routines were upended, making our days seem anchorless, with little to mark the passing of time.

Additionally, we have not experienced a traditional summer break. Many summer plans and activities have been postponed or canceled, and there are many unknowns for the start of the new school year. Instead of returning to school rested and refreshed, educators report feeling anxious and exhausted. We are running on empty. We need to refill.

Refilling Station

I am reminded of my colleague Caltha Crowe’s third-grade class. Her students named their positive time-out spot in the classroom the “Refill Station.” They described it as a place away from others, where you can stay until you have regained your self-control. Consider creating your own refill station, a place to go where you can refill with energy, happiness, confidence, and strength. Where is that place for you? A room or space in your home? Somewhere outside? Does it include music, movement, meditation, reading, watching, or listening? My refill station is on the sidewalks around my town. I walk, listen to music, and take in the nature around me. I feel so much better when I return home, even after just a quick walk around the neighborhood. I feel lighter, positive, and ready to tackle the next challenge.

Be sure your self-care routine includes a way to refill with positive energy. When the school year begins, you are going to give it all you’ve got, and then some. Make a visit to your refill station a part of your daily routine.


Written by Kristen Vincent, Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher
Tags: First Day of School, self-care