4 Small Steps to Help Educators Achieve Better Work-Life Balance
Every fall when I see all the displays at the store for back to school supplies, I reflect on all my years as a student. There’s a certain feeling in the air at this time of year, as so many gear up to return to school.
So, what better time to write a blog on the topic of work-life balance for educators? I have nothing but respect for all of those dedicated people who serve in the education sector – from nursery school to college and university, there are teachers on the front line, administrators, office staff, custodial services, and principals who have devoted their careers to educating and improving the lives of others.
Being an educator is a rewarding, though hugely challenging, profession. The impact made by these people on our culture, economy, and collective future is hard to overstate. Helping to shape, influence, and inspire students, of any age or ability, is a daunting task.
How do you as an educator stay at your best during the long and demanding days and months? How do you find balance when you give so much everyday? How do you make sure that you have time for YOU each and every day?
When you don’t have answers to these questions, burn-out isn’t far behind. Between all of the stressors in the education industry, it isn’t hard to see why educators are strained and tired – stressors like:
- Helicopter parents
- Large class sizes
- Kids who don’t want to be there disrupting the class
- Lack of resources
Educators are feeling the pressure! And in their efforts to help their students succeed, they can often forget to take care of themselves. As I’ve said before, taking care of others starts with taking care of ourselves. Educators can be even more effective when they first take the time for self-care.
Here are some small things educators can do every day to achieve a healthier, more energizing balance:
1. Shift Your Perspective and Find the Laughter
Stress will find us, no matter where we hide. That’s just a fact of life. But how we deal with that stress makes a big difference to our overall wellbeing. Humor is a great tension reliever and a shield from feelings of being overwhelmed.
When I am faced with a stressful situation in my life – especially one where I am having trouble seeing anything funny about it – first I let myself experience my initial emotions and reactions. However, the key is that I don’t stop there. I remind myself that I have a choice and I can control how I respond. Then, I try to put a humorous spin on whatever is going on.
I admit, this is hard. Sometimes you have to dig real deep to shift your perspective and find the laughter. Sometimes it takes a few days before you have enough distance to see the humor. That’s okay!
2. Get Enough Rest
Easier said than done. But pushing yourself to your limit through sleep deprivation won’t help you in the long run. You might get those papers graded or that lesson plan fleshed out, but you’ll be exhausted and cranky in the days that follow. Getting enough sleep helps you be more present both in the classroom and out.
3. Take YOUR 30 Minutes
Put yourself on your priority list. Carve out just 30 minutes every day for you. Treat it like an important daily appointment.
In those 30 minutes, do the things that help you de-stress and re-energize. Everyone’s 30 minutes is different but what matters is taking that time for self-care. When I take my 30 minutes, I find it does wonders for my bounce-back factor!
4. Keep Your Engine Running with the Right Fuel (aka Nutritious Food!)
Putting the right fuel in your body gives you the energy to get things done – and keep you in a good mood while doing it!
Think about your eating habits right now. Do you grab a quick muffin or granola bar on your way out the door in the morning? Eat in the car or on the bus while feeling rushed? Do you make your own lunches or get take-out every day?
These small things may not seem like much, but they add up to more than the sum of their parts. You’ll be surprised how amazing you feel once you change your eating habits and put a focus on health and eating REAL FOOD.
Take Care of Yourself
You don’t need to make massive changes to your routine or your life to have a better work-life balance. Just these small changes can bring positive changes to your health, your energy levels, and your life.
Don’t wait for stress to manifest. Manage your “bounce-back factor” by making healthy choices now!
Remember to put YOURSELF on your priority list.
Meg Soper is a stand-up comedian and motivational humorist speaker who can help you learn to take on life’s stressors, create positive workplaces, and achieve work-life balance. Get in touch with Meg today!
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