Feeling tired and burnt out? Try these tips to redress the balance in your life.
1. Know yourself
Know what you can manage. Do not set unrealistic targets like “I am going to get up earlier and do 10 minutes of yoga every morning”. Take this in stages and see wellbeing as a process. You are starting or reintegrating into your day everything that works. This takes time.
2. Take time for yourself in the evenings
Spend time in the evenings with friends doing things you enjoy. Not just Friday or Saturday night.
Give yourself one night off a week. No checking emails or sneaky marking, this includes just checking on those accounts you follow on Instagram and twitter for lesson ideas. Do not feel guilty about this. A refreshed worker is a productive one. Yes, education is a passion, but it does not have to take over every single waking minute. This will give you space and time to return with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.
My place of work has started ‘free by three’ afternoons once a term where we all leave by three and school gates are closed. The expectation is that you will dedicate this time entirely to leisure and it works.
This could mean taking a walk to clear your mind or listening to music you know well so you do not have to think about everything. This helps keep things in perspective. Take time to observe life instead of just rushing through it.
4. Use the staffrom
Take time to interact with members of staff across the school. This will refresh our perspective. How many times have you spent break time planning to death for that class. Usually the outcome is the better if you go in having taken a break rather than dedicating extra time to worrying about them. Make the space of your own with images of the local area and staff having fun. Get involved in the running club, dinner date gang or pub crew.
5. Plan meals
This give you something to look forward to. I’m not talking about those meal prep fanatics. Just decide like an adult what you will eat and cook and store it. I also like cooking and trying new recipes as a way to relax. Decide what you will eat this week. The whole week. This saves queuing in canteen, buying food that is overpriced from outside the your place of work and means you know exactly what nutritious goodies you are putting in. Your body is your temple. This avoids mid-week supermarket or junk food runs to pick up something lacking nutrients. Treat your body well.
6. Connect regularly with family and friends in real life.
This keeps you grounded and connected with those that matter. You realise it is not all about the characters in your latest class. Hearing someone else’s joys and woes can be constructive and you also get to be outside of your own world and concerns for a little while.
7. Make a big plan.
Make a big plan for your time off. A holiday a special meal, a festival, a concert or an exhibition and make a day of it. Visit a conference linked to your interests or do one thing you have always wanted to.
8. Connect with new people at work.
Connect with people you see every day but never really talk to at work. The enthusiasm of new teachers is boundless. They provide fresh perspectives and enjoyment. Disconnect from “mood hoovers” who always see the negative in everything and do not be one yourself. This is a tiresome stance that essentially pulls you down in any profession. See the positive. Once you force yourself to do this it becomes habit.
9. Save the weekend
It doesn’t matter if you have plans or not. Free your weekend from work. Doing nothing is a thing.Your eyesight, body, family, friends and students will thank you for it. I recently did a survey that showed how much my time was worth. It was a lot. Treasure each moment.
10. Keep your hobbies up.
I like photography. From before the photoshop days. Nothing will stop me walking and snapping. I used to do this in zone 3 London now I live in the middle of the countryside. There is always an opportunity to do this. Nature and other people are calming and give you perspective.
About the author
Lorraine Green is a secondary school English teacher and second in department from London now living in Hampshire.