Half term is a perfect opportunity for you to check in with your wellbeing.
We’ve put together a couple of ideas to help you put your wellbeing first this half term and switch off from your work. We know this isn’t easy, and actually focusing on your wellbeing can mean doing a bit of work… wellbeing isn’t just sitting in your pj’s and eating cake (well, maybe a little bit of this), it’s practice. It’s listening to yourself, paying attention and understanding ways forward.
This article explores some of the coaching techniques we practice with students on our school programmes. We have also launched a programme of free coaching for teachers. If you want to learn more, click here.
Do a stock-take on how you are doing - This may take 30-45 minutes.
It’s all too easy to say ‘look at the positives’ or ‘think of all the amazing things you’ve achieved'. This approach absolutely has its place, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are feeling ok.
Probably quite the opposite. Yes, you’ve achieved a lot this term, but at what expense? It’s time to take a moment to check-in with yourself, and what better way than with a spider diagram!
Take a piece of paper, in the middle write ‘How am I feeling right now?’. Then drawing lines coming off it, use specific words to describe your feelings.
This could be positive or negative, there is no right or wrong here. But putting a word to it on paper helps you see what is going on. For some, this may be easy, but for others, this is really a challenge, but I said this was going to be a bit of work!
“You can’t heal what you don’t let yourself feel.”
If you’re struggling to think, look at this list of words to describe some feelings. Be as specific as you can to do a true check-in.
Explore the reasons why
Once you have your list of words, it’s time to explore the why. This may be tricky to identify and it might not be one specific thing that is causing your feelings. But by hypothesising you can most certainly brainstorm a few reasons why. This will make it a lot easier for you to change anything in the future should you need to.
These two steps help you check in on what you are feeling and the reasons why. Give yourself time to reflect on these and consider what you can do to change them.
Look at your routine
There is a likelihood that your routine could be damaging your wellbeing. The 2020 Teacher Wellbeing Index suggests that nearly two-thirds of educational professionals are stressed due to working long hours.
Overworking can lead to not getting enough sleep, overlooking your physical health and facing challenges maintaining personal relationships.
It might be hard to reduce your workload, but you can take steps to find some time for yourself each day.
Take 3 for me. At the start of the day write down on a post-it-note “three things you will do for me”. This could be cooking a healthy meal, going for a walk, calling a friend, switching off from social media - whatever works for you. Anything. But 3 achievable goals. Keep them somewhere you can see them and even share them with a colleague to keep one another accountable.
Then once you have done them, and this is the most important bit, get your favourite marker pen and TICK IT OFF.
Ticks are so satisfying and you dish plenty of them out to your students. You deserve a tick too.
Find the space to explore your wellbeing with another
Only 8% of teachers believe they have access to supervision or safe spaces to discuss their wellbeing.
The tide is turning but there still remains stigma within the education profession around mental health and wellbeing. And not having a place to communicate with others can contribute to this.
So reach out. To a friend, your partner, a manager, the senior leadership team, a social media community, or even a trained Coach. There is no shame in asking for help, even if it feels like it. This for some can be a very challenging step. But everyone has mental health and you may surprise yourself in not feeling alone.
If you’re interested in coaching, you can receive free coaching sessions with a professional Animas Coach through our newly launched partnership, ‘Creating Space’. Click here to learn more and register your interest in this opportunity.