For many of us the slide into December on the back of an action-packed term is often accompanied by coughs, sneezes and achingly sore throats. When life is at its busiest with additional activities associated with the time of year, our immune systems seem most challenged. Add into the mix the short days and we can be fully forgiven for wanting to partake in a dose of hygge to preserve the soul and soothe our sanity.
Recognise any of that? Try these ideas for maintaining wellbeing in the run up to the Christmas break:
Guard your time
It’s no secret that teachers put in an utterly unsustainable number of unpaid working hours. There’s no doubt that some of those hours are freely and graciously given in order to get the job done. But we don’t always have time to give away above and beyond, nor feel so gracious. Getting run down is never good for our health, not to mention the quality of our work. If you’re starting to feel low, claw back time. Say no if you possibly can. Now is not the time to get overdrawn.
You know more than anyone what workload reduction is possible in your working context. Do you have ideas you can share with colleagues for creating some downtime for replenishment before the end of term? What collaborations might bring about a reduction in workload? And what can be dropped? Is absolutely everything on your “to do” list vital?
Ever arrived at the end of the autumn term and not had time to do anything festive for yourself? No matter if it’s not important to you, but if it is, book something NOW! A show, concert, shopping trip, favourite drinks with favourite friends… whatever is going to make you feel good, organise it now.
Go for funding
There is Workload Challenge funding available to schools via a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) grant of up to £30,000. They want schools to carry out collaborative research projects into ‘efficient and effective approaches which reduce workload related to marking, planning and resources, and data management’. Find out more here. The deadline is 9th November so time is tight.
Take a break
If at all possible, the holiday should be just that – a total break from work. Take a long run up to tackling any work clutter at home and in school so that you’re not trying to do that in the last week of term. It’s amazing what can be achieved in just ten minutes each day. Get rid of stuff that no longer serves and be ruthless about what can wait until work starts again in the new year.
Do you have any tips on maintaining your wellbeing in the run up to the festive season? Share your tips, thoughts or concerns with us!
About the author
After graduating with a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading, Elizabeth Holmes completed her PGCE at the Institute of Education, University of London. She then taught humanities and social sciences in schools in London, Oxfordshire and West Sussex, where she ran the history department in a challenging comprehensive. Elizabeth specialises in education but also writes on many other issues and themes. As well as her regular blogs for Eteach and FEjobs, her books have been published by a variety of publishers and translated around the world.