Is it your summer break yet? Even if you don’t work in school-based practice, most pediatric OTs still look forward to summer for a lighter caseload. I like to spend the first couple of days of my break doing absolutely nothing, but I’ve found that after a while that gets old, and I want to feel like I can still accomplish something during the break. This is the perfect time to get some stuff done that you’ve been meaning to do, but have no time during the regular schoolyear. So here are a few ideas on ways to recharge during the summer.
Make time to read that OT book you purchased that you’ve been meaning to read for a while. I know I get in the habit of buying books that I think will be useful, but not actually reading them. I used to joke that I was going to invent a pillow where you put a book underneath it as you sleep, and then overnight all the information in the book will be absorbed into your brain. But until I actually come up with that invention, you still have to actually read those books to benefit from the information in it. I’m planning to read a few chapters in Best Practices for OT in Schools. Or if a whole book is too daunting, just start with a couple of journal articles. Here’s an interesting one on expanding our role in helping young children develop writing skills. The current May/June issue of AJOT is also on my to-read list, I saw a bunch of interesting articles in there, too.
2. Organize your resources.
This is a good time to finally go through all those handouts you have, and get them organized and easily accessible when you need them. Set up a file box or drawer as a centralized resource for them, ideally in labeled folders for quick reference. Go through your black hole of a school bag. (What, you mean mine is the only one that is like a black hole? Oops.) Throw away those random bits and pieces that make their way to the bottom, and organize all your toys, games, craft materials, and equipment. Don’t forget to take them out of the trunk of your car so your crayons and theraputty doesn’t melt in the heat and get all over your stuff!
3. Network within the profession.
Start with your local state association. I recently attended a free OTAC Meet and Mingle event, and I met the association’s officers, as well as OT students, and even pre-students. I felt excited to start coming out of my own practice bubble and contributing more to the profession. If that’s too big a step for you, join a Facebook group on OT. My favorite one is a very active pediatric OT group with over 18,000 members. Read through the interesting posts, comment on some when you have ideas to contribute, maybe even ask a few questions of your own.
4. Look for new ideas.
Pinterest is your friend. If you enjoy browsing through different craft and treatment ideas, get started with your own boards and pin all the good stuff you find. Or follow OT Pinterest boards that you think are interesting. Gather up all those ideas to make treatment planning a breeze next schoolyear!
5. Work on your self.
When you become better as a person, you will also become a better therapist. Read a self-improvement book. Listen to some inspiring podcasts. Pursue those long neglected hobbies. Spend lots of quality time reconnecting with family and friends. Practice meditation and mindfulness. I am definitely actively working on myself this summer, and I am already feeling the benefits and seeing major changes in myself.
This way, when summer comes to its inevitable end, you won’t feel like the summer flew by with nothing accomplished, and you’ll start the school year refreshed, recharged, and ready to rock it!
What do you plan to do during your summer break? Leave some ideas in the comments!