It’s the longest term of the year, and the paperwork feels endless. You’re tired and ready for the holidays. With just one more week until the end of term, we thought we would give you some realistic and healthy tips to make sure you have the tools to get you through.
We’ve all heard it before, and it can be hard to do, but self-care really is crucial. This can take the form of seeing a favourite film at the cinema, taking the dog for a walk, a hot bath with a good book, or a night out with loved ones. Find what works for you and try to make time for it in your schedule. Give yourself regular breaks and refuse to feel guilty about the time it takes. It’s really important.
When we are feeling at the end of our tether, it’s instinctual to want to curl up, shut down, and distance ourselves from our loved ones. But maintaining our bonds is fundamental for mental health. Try to meet regularly with friends and family. Video messaging is free and easy for those who live far away, and most towns and cities have regular meetup groups and clubs where it’s easy to meet others with similar interests. You can also practice connection at school: make time for small talk in your team or over a cuppa in the staff room, or share a walk with a colleague on your lunch break (if you’re free to leave school at that time). It might seem like these steps are too small to make a difference, but they will add up and soon you’ll feel more connected.
We all know the importance of healthy eating, but getting outside during these dark months is critical. Spending time in nature boosts your immune system, reduces cortisol levels, and lowers blood pressure. It also raises your Vitamin D levels, which are especially important in the winter. Try to get outside at least once a week, perhaps ditching the car or bus and cycling to and from school. Green time improves concentration and focus, giving you a positive effect on your wellbeing as well as your happiness and mindset.
We know. Sleep, when there’s so much to plan and mark? It can seem impossible, but this is another crucial factor in being well. If your energy levels are plummeting, it’s really important to get a good night’s sleep for the sake of your work-life balance. It’s one of the most important things you can do to improve your wellbeing, so develop a regular routine that includes things like limiting screen time, getting stuck into a novel, and meditation. It really will make a difference.
Teachers are by nature helpers, who often find themselves saying yes to more than they can realistically take on. It’s a powerful trait wanting to be helpful to others, but recognising our own limits is equally important.
See if there are some responsibilities you can shift, reschedule meetings and close your door when you need time to focus on marking or paperwork. If you can be proactive and take control with these small decisions, your days will feel more manageable and the practice will strongly influence your mental wellbeing for the better.
It’s easy to forget why you’re teaching when stress, fatigue, loads of marking, and Ofsted inspections occupy your mind. Try to tap into what started you on the path, and the very real difference you’re making every day in the lives of your kids and their parents. Tap into the positive stories out there that show the impact of inspirational teachers on people’s lives years after they’re finished school and take a moment to celebrate yourself.
Similar to the above point about wanting to set boundaries, it is equally hard to ask others for help when we need it. Teachers carry so much responsibility, especially these last few years, and no one is superhuman, and once you share you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Everyone is overwhelmed, feeling stuck, and exhausted right now, but learning to recognise this and reaching out for support is the only solution to feeling even worse. It’s easy to think you should be doing everything yourself and that asking someone else for help is a sign of weakness, but nothing can be further from the truth. You wouldn’t say it to your pupils, so try to remember asking for help is the right thing to do when you feel snowed under.
And don’t forget that tutors are wonderful allies who can take some of the load off your shoulders, especially when starting early in the term.
We wish you a restful and peaceful holiday break. If you’re interested in extra personalised tuition support for January to help struggling pupils hit their grades this year, please get in touch here.
In a survey of 3,000 teachers across the UK, we found that 55% agreed that ‘low pare...
It’s the longest term of the year, and the paperwork feels endless. You’re tired a...
Is there such a thing as a restful summer holiday? Thanks to Jo Loucas, AimHigher Coor...