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The other day, I was doing some work for camp on my computer and I noticed this email icon at the bottom of my screen.

Nine thousand five hundred and thirty-one unread messages?! Thank goodness this is an email address that I just use for junk mail and not my Board or personal email addresses. This number of unread messages in either of these accounts would cause me some serious stress. I usually like to keep my number of unread messages under five, with a preference for 2-3. For both my work and personal email accounts.

For those that know me, I do not use a cell phone. I have a simple, pay-as-you-go flip phone that I only use for emergencies or when I really need to provide a cell phone number.

This shocks many, as I am fairy adept at using technology and will often have access to at least two devices before I can ever locate a pen. But when I’m outside of wifi range, I like to be able to unplug. Maybe this is my own way to self-regulate.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as since school ended in June, I’ve noticed many tweets about deleting your Board email account from your phone, computer, and/or tablet over the summer. The messages are well-meaning. The thought is that after a busy year with multiple pivots, a little bit of unplugged time is valuable. For mental health and for well-being. I get it. My issue is that thinking about the number of unread messages that I might have in my Board email account at the end of the summer causes me more stress than just reading and replying to the emails. I can always leave a message unread. I can always come back to it later. I might be able to ignore the 9, 531 unread junk emails, but I could never do the same for school emails. Granted, my summer position requires me to send out and receive numerous emails, but there would be a couple of weeks that I could probably sign off. For my own mental health though, I choose not to.

I share this story because it reminds me of how personal Self-Reg can be: what might dysregulate one person, might calm another, and vice versa. As someone who doesn’t often text — I do have iMessage on my iPad, so I can send a few texts — email is how I often reach out to others. Sometimes this connecting is what I need. Sometimes when my school To Do List is long, being able to reply to emails and attain that Inbox 0 is what makes me feel best of all. Is there something that supports your Self-Reg that many others find to be dysregulating? As the summer goes by and we start to think about the next school year, how might our understanding of the personal nature of Self-Reg impact on the decisions that we make in the classroom? For now, I’m going to exit out of my email program and pick up my Kindle for a little bit of quiet reading time. I might not want to ignore my emails for the summer, but I still know when I need a break.

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