During a recent PDs, we discussed the topic of self care. Cythina, one of our school social workers, shared some excellent resources with us that can be found at the end of this blog post! As we come to the end of the year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything going on in life and to maintain that work life balance.
Take Time to Reflect
I recognize there are time constraints and I understand that sometimes, taking time to reflect can cause added stress, especially when you are already pressured for time. However, this can easily be done while you are doing something else – waiting at the copy machine, walking across campus, connecting with another teacher. One of my favorite ways to reflect is with an after school run with another teacher. This way, we can talk together, my thoughts get put out there and I am getting added advice from someone I trust and respect.
This blog post from George Couros also really helped me put things into perspective:
“Negatives last as long as you don’t learn from them. From every situation, good and bad, there are things that we can learn from, but if we let the negative linger, it will loom over you.”
The quote above helps me remember that even when things are getting stressful and seemingly negative, they can become positives when we learn from them. When we take the time to reflect on the events of our day, whether it is with a parent, a student, or something more personal, we can make a well informed plan to move forward and hopefully find that we are a stronger at the end of the journey.
In the Science of Happiness Podcast, each episode has a “Happiness Guinea Pig.” They challenge their Happiness Guinea Pig to list three things a day that made them happy. This could be written, blogged, or just thought about. How powerful would it be have an ongoing list of what made you happy each day? This could just be something to look back at and reflect on.
Another strategy that the podcast shared was about thinking ahead to the future with an activity called “the best possible self” (the quote below is taken straight from the podcast transcript):
“So the best possible self—the activity is you’re supposed to for two weeks you’re supposed to take 15 minutes out of your day and write about your future. Think about things that are really important to you. So your—your relationships, your work your health. And you know the more specific the better and you know, just go for it, just write whatever you can. And then one of the things that I think it was like the first point was like ‘you might find yourself—I’m paraphrasing here but—you might find yourself like bogged down in the details of what’s happening with your life now which certainly happened to me but you know it was like basically like but just keep writing. Just do it.
And the idea is to write out all of the things that you want and to do it without casting judgment on yourself and so just to really, really stretch yourself to think about what are the things that I want if there are no obstacles and if there are you know there are no barriers, and if I could just have this. And then hopefully the idea is that you can be on your way to achieving that just by writing it down and knowing that the possibility is out there.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the present, take the suggested 15 minutes and think ahead to the future. This just might help keep the present in perspective!
Identify Your Triggers
Is there a particular part of your day when you feel anxious or especially stressed? For me, it was the end of the day when I was trying to get a ton of things done before going to workout or before getting to the grocery store or before just going home to be home! When I was really, struggling, I brought this up with my team. They shared some strategies that they use – staying later only one day a week to catch up on everything, getting to work 15 minutes early a few days to complete the burdensome tasks that keep us all late, or connecting with parents and relying on them for help. Talking it out and getting advice really helped me grow professionally and manage my tasks.
Whatever is making you feel uneasy, anxious, or negative, try to identify the cause. If you are not able to identify a cause that can lead to a solution, bring others in to see if they can help you out!
I have learned a lot of great information by listening to the podcast called The Science of Happiness (referred to in this blog post under “Identifying Happiness”). This podcast gives stories and strategies that may help you find happiness and a better life balance – if that is what you are searching for.
Below are a few resources that were shared by our counseling department: