Recharged and ready to go. Starting the year with a self-care plan

Teachers look forward to summer breaks as much as students – maybe even more than – they do. A few weeks without rigorously regimented days; we’re free to do things like take a toilet break or eat lunch whenever we need to and wear pants as little as we want. Summer breaks mean we don’t have to plan every minute of the school day or spend weekends full of schoolwork.

‘Summer days drifting away……’ as sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical – Grease. January has 31 days, and each new day is that day to Day 1, Term 1, 2023.

New strategic directions, changing school organisation, new classrooms and grades to teach and for many, new positions in new schools in the 2023 year.  In truth, teachers and school leaders are already planning and preparing for the new school year. Many of the same challenges from previous years will again confront us. Excitement, refreshed enthusiasm and apprehension create a potent mix of emotions and feelings that are commonly expressed feelings toward the new school year.

Whether your school development days will include candle-making, painting rocks or playing team-building games, there will be the usual online mandatory compliance tasks and professional learning that start the year. 

The planning for self-care, and the time to exercise that plan can get lost in the first weeks of school. A self-care plan will sustain and better manage creating a healthy work/life balance that will sustain you. 

Self-care can be described in several ways: 

  • activities and practices that give you strength, that lower the level of stress and contribute to your wellbeing
  • reflecting on when stress is manageable/less manageable
  • reflecting on when physical and emotional wellbeing is enhanced

Teachers and school leaders who don’t manage a good work-life balance, or at least a proper work-life blending, will often show evidence of this physical, emotional, and psychological stress which in turn affects their ability to deal with other people.

Will you make time to create and implement a plan for self-care?