If we are sat on a plane we are told to take oxygen first before helping our children. But in real everyday life the truth is that few of us ever do.
As teachers and parents we rush around, rarely thinking of our own needs in a bid to do the best job we can. The role of teacher and parent are surprisingly similar – especially when it comes to guilt. So much so that I can’t remember a time when I could just sit on the sofa in an evening without feeling that there is something I should be doing. Long before mum guilt became a part of my life, teacher guilt was ever present.
And the truth is that as both a teacher and a parent there really is always something we could do better. More of a difference we could make.
But what has recently started to enter my head, is that actually maybe I would do a better job at both if I stopped for a moment and took care of me. If I operated less in frazzled burnt out mode, and instead got a little more sleep and occasionally took time out to refocus, and to remember what is important.
The truth is that I am not good at just relaxing. My brain is always too busy. A particularly memorable mindfulness course a few years ago springs too mind….. I learnt a lot of valuable techniques to try with students, but the day itself drive me mad.
I am simply not good at doing nothing. It makes me far more stressed than doing something. Anything. Just not nothing.
So, with this in mind for the next month I’ve decided I’m going to make a little more effort to take care of me. Not because I don’t care about my children or my students, but because I do. And the truth is they deserve not only the best opportunities I can give them, but the best me I can give them.
So this is what I am going to do:
Shave my legs at least once a week – it may well be winter but that does not mean I need to look like a yeti! I know I’ll feel better for it, so I need to make the effort.
Use a face mask – I will not remember to put lotions and potions on each day I am simply too lazy – but I can aim to use a face mask once a week. I’ll pop it on, do the washing up and then go upstairs and wash it off. A little bit of luxury without taking time off my day.
Take at least ten hours a day away from the computer (yes ok and the iPad and the phone) once a week – this one will be hard. Really hard. But my children need to see that I’m present for them at the weekends, and I am determined to really make an effort to do it. I know it will also make me come back to it feeling refreshed.
Eat more healthily – I am not even going to go into how bad my diet normally is but let’s just say that chocolate plays a far bigger part in it than fruit or vegetables and that needs to change. I know I’ll feel better for doing it…. though I do wish I didn’t pass a Sainsbury’s express on my way into work…
And last but not least I am going to try to read at least one chapter a week of a book I want to read purely for pleasure. Nothing work related, just for fun.
So how about you, will you join my in mission?
What are you going to do this week just for you? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook, let’s hold each other accountable.