School professionals will be looking forward to a well-earned rest this Christmas, but it’s a well-known fact that some still see it as a chance to catch up – on work!
Breaks during the academic year are there for a reason and are not just for ‘kids’! They are regular opportunities, to recover from the considerable demands of the job and prevent a physical and mental burnout and what better time to enjoy a break than the Christmas one!
‘Teachers they only work 38 weeks’ – We have all heard these words way too many times before. Until you actually work in a school you won’t get it. Yes, its 38 weeks, of curriculum planning, breakfast clubs, teaching, break duty, more teaching, lunch duties, CPD, more teaching, senior leadership meetings, subject leader meetings, lesson planning, governors meetings, after school clubs, assessment, organise the Christmas performance, source new resources….the list goes on and repeats day after day each term until you get to the break.
Its stressful for even the most energetic, well organised individual! And this time of year, the idea of the break seems non-existent.
Christmas is the season of giving, which means we feel the added pressure to spend hours surfing the internet or hitting the high street for those all important gifts for us to bring them home and begin getting lost in mountains of wrapping paper…then we need to play Father Christmas and deliver said gifts.
We also feel the need to be highly social at Christmas and spend days visiting friends and family, although that might not be in person this year, but it could mean we are spending hours back in front of a screen on those zoom calls.
Don’t get me started on the Christmas dinner preparation…
Here’s a few tips to ensure you get some much needed rest this holiday season;
Be mindful – Know the worth of your time. If you really must work, allocate the time, set the timer, complete the task and then relax the rest of the day.
Switch off – Someone else is working the day that you are relaxing and the emails keep pinging through – switch them off, disable them from your phone. Be present with your family or friends or allow yourself to read that book undisturbed from the list of books that you made at the start of the Christmas break.
Get out – If you are sat at home thinking ‘I could be planning’. Ok so allocate the time to do it, put on your trainers and get out for some fresh air. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood by the release of endorphins.
Self-care – This season can become a time for keeping other people happy, so setting aside time for yourself will help you be more present for others when you spend time with them. Got children? – agree with your partner (or yourself)that after the kids are in bed you will watch the film you wanted to see or listen to the audiobook you paid for at the start of September.
Focus – On the complete person; mind, body and skin. Our brains control every single thing that happens to us throughout the day – it’s your perception, it is your reaction to stress, it is your emotions and more. The brain control’s our bodily functions like breathing and digestion so ensure it gets the rest it deserves.
Wishing you a restful and well-deserved break.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.