Educators: self-care over the break

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

You made it, the break is here and it’s time to rest and recover so here are some tips to help you wind down and make the most of your time off.

Set boundaries

If you know that you will have some work to do over the holidays, put aside dedicated time and don’t work outside of this time. The more you break these boundaries the more stressed you will get and the less likely it is that you will be able to rationalise slowing down. Be responsible for managing your own self-care and workload.


Regulate your social media use

The news is stressful at the best of times. Be clever about who you follow and monitor your usage time; there are lots of options and information on your usage in phone settings that can help with this.


Take part in activities that make you happy

Whatever they may be, get them booked in. Walking, going to a museum with your children, yoga, running, cooking up a nice lunch. Try to fit something in everyday no matter how small. "...trying out new things and getting absorbed in hobbies and passions helps us to keep our brain in shape, find fulfilment, and get more out of life and ourselves."*


Connect

“Scientists have found that we are 30 times more likely to laugh when we are with another person than when we are on our own”* Connecting has been difficult but whilst you can (in a sensible way) meet up with friends and talk. We rely on social interactions to flourish and be happy so get yourself out there with the people that you love!


Enjoy changing up some of your habits

Humans acquire habits (as teachers it helps us survive!) - it's a way to make our life simpler and more organised but sometimes it's nice to break up these habits and try something new. Pick something you do on autopilot - maybe a route you walk, a breakfast routine or a chair you always sit on and try something different. It's perfect timing to make some subtle changes now that you no longer have your work routines in place. As Mark Williams says “If you are fully aware, then you maintain greater control of your automatic pilot and can use it to deploy habits as you need them”*


Talk or write about something you are grateful for

When bombarded with negativity, focusing on the things we are truly grateful for helps us to see the smaller things that are positive in our lives. Quite often we are waiting for that big thing to happen to make us happy but as Adrian Bethune states “But the time for happiness is now!”*. At a particular time of the day (such as breakfast time) write something you are grateful for on a post it and display it in your home, watch your gratitudes collect day by day! It does so much for our wellbeing to read over past gratitudes and relive positive experiences.


If you are feeling low and need advice and support these websites may help. Always reach out, don't suffer alone :


https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/


https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/whole-school-approach/supporting-staff-wellbeing/


https://www.mind.org.uk/


https://www.actionforhappiness.org/


https://www.samaritans.org/



*10 Keys to happier Living by Vanessa King

*50 Ways to Feel Happy by Vanessa King with Val Payne and Pater Harper

*Mindfulness: a practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World

*Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom by Adrian Bethune