How can we look after ourselves over Christmas?
The Christmas break is the ideal time to reflect on how well we have managed our wellbeing. If not kept in check, it can cloud our ability to perform our roles. It is often the absolute basics of day-to-day life that we forget to do during our busiest periods in the teaching term.
6 ways to recharge your batteries this Christmas
Here are my 6 top tips to promote wellbeing at home over the Christmas period.
1 Look good, feel good!
“You look the way you think of yourself” is a phrase I came across through reading Tyrese Gibson’s book How To Get Out of Your Own Way. As teachers, we know when we have turned up for work in a dishevelled state, simply because we have chosen marking oversleep and wake up resembling Freddy Krueger!
Take decisive action to look like we want to feel. Splash out on a new smart-wear purchase for your wardrobe. It may well mask feelings of exhaustion, but is a step in the right direction towards remodelling our image and showing we can unashamedly take time for ourselves during the Christmas break.
2 Engage in personal development resources
Many teachers engage in personal development material as a cry for help to kick-start a positive growth mindset. This features in my previous TT blog on Teacher Confidence and plays a pivotal role in teachers recapturing confidence levels. This ultimately enables us to unleash our most effective teaching.
We must not ignore the value of personal development to condition our minds to reach its peak, then our teaching often follows a similar path. Pedagogy for teaching is key, but motivational content can often lie at the foundations of the greatest of teachers.
3 Do something you can talk to your students about
Your learners will not want to hear about how every teacher stuffed their face with turkey for a week! They will appreciate hearing about something other than mundane tasks.
If you want to create intrigue and engagement from the first lesson back, consider how you can enlighten learners on how you finally started the ‘Insanity’ fitness programme you’ve been putting off! Watch how learners will become your biggest supporters and will you to complete the programme. A simple mention of something different can be the conversation starter for the weeks that follow.
4 Reward yourself…
Appreciate yourself for all you have done to foster a successful learning environment for your students. You’ve spent all term thinking about them, now it is your turn to have the care and attention! This ‘Reclaim your weekend’ blog by Laura George showed us how re-engaging with your social beast within goes a long way to improving wellbeing.
Simple mindfulness and pausing to enjoy the moments in our most fun settings will help us to appreciate the finer things in life: our friends, families, pets or whatever makes you feel rewarded. For a more relaxing treat, feel the termly pressures released from your shoulders, with a relaxing sports massage! Booking the hour-long option might allow you the time to have a cheeky, rejuvenating sleep at the same time.
5 Consider external support
Is it time to accept you could be coping better with the demands of the job? If the answer is yes, there is first-rate specialist support at hand through the government initiative ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapy’ (IAPT). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is offered through scheduled telephone appointments if you feel unable to commit time for the face-to-face option.
User-friendly SilverCloud (CBT) modules provide practical individualised action-based tasks on wellbeing matters. These can be applied to day-to-day life to ultimately increase self-worth and lower stress levels. Feel no shame in this, as some of the most idolised figures in various professions have at some point paused to accept help and continue to receive professional support on a regular basis. They will vouch that this helps them to function at their best, so should we also commit to regular wellbeing checks in teaching?
6 Tackle your at-home pile of teaching paperwork
Hoarding your teaching and CPD paperwork can have its benefits. You may have some useful nuggets of content under the bed that you plan to use next year. However, seriously re-consider limiting the amount you cling onto in your home environment. Set some boundaries!
Now is the time to de-clutter and decide what will actually raise your teaching levels? Whatever doesn’t, it’s worth chucking it out with the weekly recycling! Clear your mind and create some additional space at home and start the new year without the baggage of old!
Make sure that you make plenty of time this Christmas to recharge your batteries, socialise, find some ‘me’ time and have a great holiday.