Anyone who works in a school knows the full out relief of a long summer break and the relief has never been more needed than it has been this year. Many of us have not had any breaks since February half-term or more with the dedication of schools and their staff caring for key worker and vulnerable children and continuing to teach remotely!
The day in and day out the strain of the overwhelming responsibility weighs on the shoulders of each person. Some loads are heavier than others but they all put a relentless stress during school time.
Most of us know all about this before we even enter the profession. We are warned and told the horror stories. However, over the years the stresses of continued curriculum changes, societal changes, ever increasing expectation and accountability as well as a full on pandemic puts our health and well-being at risk.
So, it is very important that we take the time during to summer break to look after ourselves and start developing habits that will support us through the rest of the year.
Summer Mindfulness To Do List
1- Gratitude– In the hustle and bustle of the school year, we can sometimes forget to bask in the success that have been achieved. Take some time to write out all the wonderful things you can think have happened this last year.
2- Meditations– Meditating is a habit. When forming a new habit you must:
* Set a Reminder– the trigger that initiates the behaviour. I suggest an alarm on your phone early in the day (after you know you will be awake but before you would go out for the day) that goes off daily.
* Make a Routine– when the alarm goes off stop whatever you are doing and begin your meditation. An overview of meditations can be found here.
* Reward– Once you have finished your meditation, smile and give yourself a mental pat on the back as you recognise how you are feeling in those first moments following the meditation.
A number of guided meditations can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/EducationsVoiceMeditations
3- Mindful Walks– We all know that walks can clear the cobwebs and make use feel better. This holiday, when you take the walks, focus on one aspect of the walk. For example, decide on a colour you want to notice. As you walk, look for that colour. When you see it, use it as a reminder to take a deep mindful breath and focus on the object with the colour and the characteristics of that object. If other thoughts, like work, come to mind, allow them to float past you like a cloud and not allow yourself to wallow in the thought.
4- Learn Something New– Studies suggest that adult learning has a positive impact on self-esteem and self-efficacy when the learning provided meets the needs of the learner, and when the learner is at a stage in their life when they are ready and receptive to benefit from it. So, basically, if we learn something we want to learn and not because we have to learn it, the positive benefits support our well-being. What will you learn to do this holiday? Knitting, crocheting, making tissue flowers, baking, sign language?
5- #RAK – Pledge to do one Random Act of Kindness each day. It doesn’t need to be big. It could be to allow a car to go ahead of you in a traffic jam or it could be paying for the person behind you at the coffee shop. Maybe it is to give a lonely looking person a sincere smile or leaving little positive notes in high traffic areas a rays of sunshine for other people.
During this break, make your well-being a priority. No one can do it for you. YOU have to do it!