Over the last year I have been regularly reading the blogs posted on the Teachers Are Gold website. They made a lot of practical sense to me. I became aware that there were simple ways I could make changes to my routine that would improve my energy levels in the day, which was a bonus in my book.
I could continue to work the same way that was obviously not working, or start to make some small changes that had worked for many others with their self- care routine.
GETTING STARTED …
The tips looked simple enough and I started to apply them in the weeks prior to the parent interviews. My biggest call was going to bed earlier and not rushing out of bed on autopilot when my alarm went off. This was hard at first, but I knew that if I didn’t start to make the smallest changes, I would be back to square one and nothing would change.
Rather than choosing to go for a walk where I was focused on work and how much I had to exercise, I started choosing to walk at a steady pace, for as long as I needed just for that day, without any thoughts of school.
Sitting down to breakfast was a ‘big one’ and proved to be a great way to support myself. By choosing to do this I noticed I wasn’t getting as hungry and looking for ‘pick me up’ foods when I started to feel tired. I felt lighter in the body and had the energy to keep going at the end of the day without feeling overwhelmed.
I have always been super organised, but thought I had to go it alone to get the jobs done. Reading the blogs, it slowly dawned on me that self-care included asking for help when you needed it. I took a step out of my comfort zone and asked my colleagues for support with setting up and packing up the classroom at the end of the day within the timetable structure of the meeting times.
I organised morning and after-school interview times that would give me space to connect with the teaching team on the days interviews were running so that there was an easy transition for all of us and an opportunity to not leave anything incomplete.
I set up the interview space ready to go after each day so that I could walk straight in and get started the next day, giving me time to continue to support my new morning routine.
I shared my interview notes from my computer, added additional notes during the meeting and emailed each parent the paperwork at the completion of each session. It was so simple and left no paper trail to complete afterwards.
I made a conscious effort to regularly reposition myself on my chair or do some light exercise under the table as each parent came in and have a sip of water to keep me well hydrated.
By late Friday afternoon, I had completed all the interviews and I had noticed that I was not falling down in a heap or looking for a quick fix or a way to go home and reward myself for a job well done! I still had the energy that I had started the day with and I had noticed that yes, I was tired, but not exhausted. This was the difference that I had not felt before.
I was tired but not an exhausted tired.
The simple self-care routines were so supportive and I was so glad that I gave myself the opportunity to trust and try them out.
What I felt could have been a marathon turned out to be a steady walk to the finish line, as I completed it at a pace that was bringing more self-care and consistency, without perfection. In the past I would have overridden the levels of exhaustion I was feeling, with a drive to get the job done.