We constantly talk about the impacts of transition, change, and trauma on children. We often forget that those who care for children also need support in their ever-challenging roles. The demands and pressures to provide practical and emotional care can often be overwhelming and damaging to staff well-being.
We are human beings before we are teachers, but the reality is that we are not seen that way. Our emotional well-being can be overlooked by others and ourselves, as we become advocates for the children and young adults under our care. By doing this, however, we are unintentionally creating a space where they cannot flourish because we are not flourishing.
There are many different ways you can boost your own well-being to support yourself in becoming the best teacher you can be:
1. Take Breaks.
Make sure you have enough time and space to have a break and do something just for you. We know that you are not just a teacher, and you often wear many hats. This often leads to not prioritising personal well-being, and not scheduling the proper time to relax and do the things you enjoy.
2. Find support groups.
While taking the time to talk to friends and family is a good way to relieve stress, sometimes they cannot understand the struggle of being a teacher and the pressure it holds. There are many different support groups online, for example on Facebook, where you can find communities with like-minded people. These are great safe spaces to get advice and connect with other individuals who understand what you are going through.
3. Set boundaries.
It is very important to set your boundaries around what you make yourself available for, and what you cannot do. It is vital that you say no when things are affecting your mental health. You cannot do it all, especially not alone, so speak up and protect yourself. Plan your time out and ensure you add breaks in, and dedicate time for your own well-being. Make that a priority.
4. Practice self-care.
It seems that everyone is talking about self-care at the moment, but what does it really mean? It is doing things that are good for our physical, emotional and or psychological well being. Examples of this may be, reading a book, getting fresh air, going to the gym, connecting with friends, cooking your favourite meal, having a bath – the list is endless! Anything that makes you feel good and that relieves stress and pressure will help.
5. Try to stay present.
We can not control or be prepared for every eventuality, even though we may try!! Staying present, taking things one step at a time can help when things start to get on top of us.
If you are uncertain about the position of your staff well-being within your school, the Anna Freud Centre have released a Survey for Well-being Measurement among School Staff. We have included a link to this survey here so you can get a deeper understanding of the general well-being amongst your staff and provide them with the support they need.