If you’re a teacher, you my friend, are a superhero. I’m serious! Teaching is a calling. It doesn’t pay much and the hours are long but I know you love it, because I certainly do.
The Teaching Scene
Can you relate to the following scenario, because this is the story of my teaching career.
As I drive to work, I think about my students & what I’m going to teach them, amongst other things. During the day, I focus on their needs & try to make sure they each receive the amount of time & attention they need from me. When it’s a break, I may want to go to the staffroom but a student needs me so I stay. At the end of the day, I try to get work done quickly so that I can go home quickly, but that’s rarely ever possible. I end up either staying at work late or taking it home with me. On the way home, I think about my day & what changes need to be made for the next day. When I arrive home, I realize that I forgot to eat at school and didn’t drink much, so I scarf down dinner & burn the midnight oil with more work.
I love my students, so they’re always on my mind, but this isn’t a heathy way to live. If I keep going down this path, I’ll be heading for burnout central.
Does spending all day thinking about work, bring you joy? Do you miss having time for yourself or your family? Do you wish you had more time to indulge in something other than your career? I certainly do! What can we do about it? How do we fix this so that we can create some semblance of work-life balance?
Bring On The Work-Life Balance
I’ve read a lot about this topic and there are professionals who provide with a list of 10 to 50 ideas to try. As a practicing teacher though, I don’t have time for all of that. Do you? I’ve implemented five strategies that I believe has drastically improved my life and has brought back some joy into my life. In sincerely hope you join me by adding one or all of them into your own life. Perhaps you might add your own spin to it. Do what works best for you and have fun with this process.Dream about sheep as you …. SLEEP!!!
Dream About Sheep As You …. Sleep!!!
I know! I said it! Sleep! It’s such a simple concept but most of us don’t get enough of it. There are all of those gurus who tell us to wake up early to get work done but I’m here to tell you to forget about all of that. Instead, spend some time figuring out if you’re a morning or a night person. If you’re a morning person, then getting up early is the way to go, but that means, you need to get yourself into bed early & enjoy a morning routine. If you’re a night person like me, then create a night routine that helps you wind down and head to bed. Try to catch at least 7 hours of sleep. If all else fails, at the very least, 6 hours but that might be pushing it.
Feed The Creative Genius Inside Of You!
Indulge in a creative project – writing, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, acting, etc. You don’t have to be good at it and no one’s going to see you – unless you want them to. I enjoy music and writing, so I sing for fun and self-published my first children’s book, Louis and Denzil: Making A New Friend. Be open to this because it will fill you with a sense of purpose beyond your career. You may even make new friends along the way, as we can never have enough of them, right?
An Attitude Of Gratitude!
Think of all of the times in your life that you’ve felt a sense of joy or accomplishment. Look at the gifts that you’ve been given, such as your health, family, friends, job, students, home, food, clothes, and so much more. Grab your journal and make a note of all of it. There’s nothing too small to be on that list so write it all down and bask in that positive glow for a few minutes. In fact, take this journal with you and make a note of all of the good things that occur throughout your day. If you practice this every day, it will become a habit and will lighten your mood drastically.
The Gift Of Love!
We’re focusing on loving yourself here. Take some time to infuse this into as many parts of your day as you possibly can. What can you do for yourself? Deep breathe or mediate / pray if you feel stressed out. This may not work for everyone, so think about what will work for you. Would praying instrumental music or humming to yourself help you? If so, include it in your day. Some people find that giving themselves a hug or tapping their heart gently during stressful times, helps to calm themselves as well. For the first several times, until this becomes a habit, you’ll need to be mindful of doing this because as educators, we tend to put others before ourselves, but we need to think about our own health and wellbeing as well or we’ll be no good to anyone.
Indulge In Some Me Time!
It doesn’t matter what you do during this time, but take some time, even if it’s just 15 minutes, to do something for yourself. This might include sitting and staring as you might be exhausted, or you may want to watch a show or read a book. Whatever you do, this time is exclusively for you and no one else. You may want to include this in your morning or night routine. Start with 5 minutes if 15 minutes is too much, and build from there. I have some banana bread and tea calling my name in the kitchen. This will be a part of “me time” today, that I’ve been looking forward to all day as my husband is working on his own project and my son is asleep. Try to include this into your schedule every day. It’ll give you something to look forward to as well.
We’ve covered so much here today. I hope this post was actionable enough for you. I’d love to hear what steps you’ve taken to care for yourself. You, my friend, are making a difference in this world by helping care for not one, but multiple children. You’re in my thoughts because I know how demanding this job can be.
I know we’ve covered a lot but I have one more BONUS STEP for you to ensure that you actually follow-through with taking care of yourself because it’s so important to your health, wellbeing and work-life balance. Please take out your planner and schedule in some time to take care of yourself. If I have to choose one thing for you to do, it would be step 5. At the very least, spend 5 minutes a day looking after yourself.
If you haven’t already grabbed your free planner, please click on the image below and take a moment to focus on yourself because you deserve it.
While the above roadmap is a great starting point for goal-setting, the following, which is a more comprehensive guide, will go into more depth and will focus on my 6 step goal-setting plan for success.
Take care my friend,