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Relax – it’s fallow time!

"Life is about balance. You don't always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it's perfectly okay, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back, and do nothing"

-Lori Deschene-


Are you exhausted? Feeling the need to RELAX?

That sounds easy enough to do! Or maybe not..

I’ve spent the last few weeks of work tying up loose ends, helping finalize student elective choices, making a few lesson-plan brainstorms, and cleaning off my desk.

So, it’s time to relax! And I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could say that would be thought-provoking, interesting, insightful, inspirational, and meaningful to YOU about the importance of RELAXING.

But I kept falling into a huge pile of “duh duh”.

Relaxing helps you rejuvenate. – DUH

Relaxing helps you to combat stress. – DUH

Better relaxation leads to more happiness. – DUH

There are many health benefits from relaxation. – DUH

Every person has their own preferred way of relaxing. – DUH

All of these things are true! But, they are too easy, too cliché, too generic, and too fluffy - especially for teachers.


And then I ran across the word “fallow” and even more specifically, “fallow time”.

Full disclosure: As an English teacher, I’m embarrassed by the fact that I’d never heard of this word before. Yet, as a teacher, I embrace learning whenever it happens – even with myself!

Fallow (adj.): not in use; inactive:

Fallow time or fallow period: a time when nothing is done or achieved

Usually, fallow is used in farming terminology to describe when the land is left uncultivated for a season or more. This gives the soil time to regenerate its fertility and is often referred to in regard to crop rotation.

Fallow use has also popped up in connection with the corona virus regarding dentistry. For example, there are guidelines for the fallow time between dental procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.


Why is fallow time a better approach to summer relaxation for teachers?

Just like the soil needs time to regenerate so that plants can grow and thrive, TEACHERS need time to relax and regenerate so that we can help our students learn, grow, and become the best they can be!

As a teacher, you have been under a lot of unexpected, unpredictable, and unimaginable pressure for nearly two years!

This pandemic has required more of your resources, more of your flexibility, and more of your skills & abilities than ever before experienced during a school year period (and more!). And we don’t know for sure that the end is truly in sight.

If you’re like me, you are feeling a huge sense of relief that summer is finally here. And you really want to do absolutely nothing – total summer relaxation! Sleep in, soak up some sun, sip on a icy drink!

But, there is this nagging sense of “duty” that you can’t quite ignore. School will start up again soon. There is so much to catch up on and prepare for – maybe more now than ever before.

So, it’s hard to relax without a guilty conscience weighing on your mind.

THAT is where fallow time has its place!!

You too need time between “procedures”, like the time between the end-of-school and the beginning-of-school, to help prevent the spread of overwhelm, exhaustion, and depletion!

The whole premise of having a time period when nothing is done or achieved, nothing is expected, and nothing is required removes the pressure. The underlying expectancy of needing to achieve something, do something, prepare something is taken off the table!

Fallow time removes the “should” from the equation. “I should catch up. I should read up on this or that. I should prepare something. I should paint the deck. I should, I should, I should…!”


Take a chunk of your summer vacation time and dub it “Fallow Time”.

Allow yourself the privilege of doing NOTHING! Give yourself permission to take a break from your list of “shoulds” and allow your summer fallow time to be filled with relaxing and joyful activities.

Give your guilty conscience some time off and take an extended weekend, a full week or even a month to relax, reenergize, rejuvenate, replenish your soul - fallow style!


I know – you need to know that you will be ready to get back to school!

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!

You can go from relaxed fallow style to ready for reentry into the classroom AND enjoy your summer at the same time!

Have a wonderful relaxing and fallowful summer experience!

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1 Comment

Sandra Andersen
Sandra Andersen
Jul 09, 2021

Very helpful. I'm already a fan of "fallow time! 😎

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