Its been a really difficult 6 weeks, in this time I have hot the depth of dispair, dropped 3 stone and basically lost my smile. I feel like I smashed through my rock bottom and was left looking up at the world from a basement. Wanting to join in with the world but completely unable to muster the strength and confidence to do so. I was a shell of the person I was 6 months ago.
For 6 months long hours, constant fire fighting, putting everyone first and no self-care had desimated my energy reserves. So when 3 life events hit all at the same time I had no energy, cognitive ability and resiliance to bounce back from being hit by the sledge hammer of life. I am by no means saying that I would have instantly bounced like nothing happened. I am sure however, that if I had kept up todate with my self-care I would have found structure from the insuing chaos sooner.
As teachers we know all about self-care, not all of us live it though. Some of us abide by the rule “do what I say not what I do”. We say smoking is bad while we are counting the seconds till our next puff. We say “make sure you eat breakfast” after we have skipped breakfast and lunch for the last six weeks. My personal favourite, “dont drink energy drinks, there so bad for you” when we are on our 6th cup of extra strong instant and it is only the 1st period.
To be honest I am talking about myself here and not educators as a whole. But if this chimes with you it maybe worth thinking about this. I only take advice from people who walk the walk and genually live the reality they are talking about. So why am I doing the oppersite and expecting learners to walk down a path I wont dare to.
Learners are switched on, they know when advice is genuine and when it is from a book. They are more likely to follow advice from someone who lives that reality rather than someone who has read it in a book.
So as we approach christmas I have made a pact with myself. Choose me, when its a choice between meeting my needs or someone elses I will choose myself first and then support the other person to meet their own needs. This whole episode has taught me one thing, I cant help others if I dont help myself. I am far more effective and impactful when I am healthy and stable. To achieve this state I need to look after myself and that means putting me first.
In the season of giving, what have you decided to give yourself? So you can give more to others.
Its not selfish, because I am a better person, more helpful and more present when my needs have been met. I like to think of it as a bank account the more I pay in through looking after myself, the more I can pay out to others.
In this season of giving I have decided to:
- Spend 2 hours a day on me, this could be reading, blog writing, gym, and/or meditation
- Have structure to my day and keep to it. This will insurr I will always have something I can predict.
- Write 3 micro achievements a day.
- Eat 3 meals a day
- Be organised with my time and learn to use this organisation to say no and set boundaries.
Over the next few blogs I will discuss these 5 items in more detail. But for now I am just gonna leave this here.