How to . these holidays
In our day-to-day jobs, we regularly have to juggle many competing demands. This has been especially true this last term during the COVID lockdowns. As teachers, we often put other people’s mental health and wellbeing needs ahead of our own. However, it’s important that we take the time to prioritise our own mental health and wellbeing during the holiday break to make sure we are fully recharged before the next school term starts.
Our top tips for recharging the batteries
Power of positive emotions
Switching on to your emotions is an important way to improve your wellbeing, being intentional about doing things that result in positive emotions can increase your wellbeing. Some simple ways to tap into positive emotions include:
- Gratitude: At the end of each day, think of one or two things you are grateful for and record them so you can revisit on those days when you may not be feeling as positive.
- Kindness: Random acts of kindness all help generate a culture of kindness in our community. Never under-estimate how much joy you can experience from doing a random act. Try it today!
- Experience joy: Think about other ways you can generate joy in your day, such as by spending time in nature, watching a comedy, reading a good book, exercising, taking up a new hobby, or connecting with family and friends.
Understand the power of connection
Research has shown that social connectedness is at least as important for your health as regular exercise or eliminating nasties such as smoking. COVID lockdown has made connecting with friends and family increasingly challenging, but it is still possible with the use of technology.
Simple ways to build and maintain your social connections:
- Connect with family and friends: Make a commitment over the holiday break to virtually connect with the people you love. Whether it be a virtual trivia night, a Netflix watch party or a virtual dinner – set some time aside to socialise over the digital divide.
- Find your tribe! Joining a community group or volunteer for a charity or a cause that’s close to your heart, or try an online group fitness activity. I have spent many hours with Joe Wicks – The Body Coach and PE with Joe to keep my head in a good space while gyms are closed!
- Give your existing relationships some love: Sometimes when things get a bit chaotic in our work lives we tend to neglect our most important relationships. Do something special for the people under the same roof as you. If you live alone then make time in the holidays to reconnect with a mate you haven’t spoken to for a while.
Build in a digital detox
COVID lockdown has meant the time we spend in front of a computer and digitally connected has sky-rocketed. This constant connection to our schools and students has meant that many of us are failing to switch off – and its not just switching off Zoom – failing to switch off our phones, tablets, laptops and minds can have a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing. So these holidays, challenge yourself to build in a digital detox:
- Switch off your tech: Create tech-free chunks of time throughout the holidays.
- Go to bed on time: Netflix binges can cause chaos with our sleep cycles. Just because you’re on holidays doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need its sleep.
Mindfulness is having a moment right now. It seems like every man and his dog is getting in on it. When we’re faced with looming deadlines, endless inboxes and mountains of work, taking the time to refocus and centre our attention can help us to regain a sense of calm and control. Pausing gives your body and mind the chance to take stock of the situation and enables you to respond more skillfully.
Practising mindfulness also has other benefits, including improvements in your overall mood, and an increased ability to make decisions and to regulate emotions.
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