It’s important to try and enjoy the festivities. Enjoy the celebrations with the children you work with, try to see the magic and wonder of the holiday season through their eyes, but at the same time finish the year without burning out.
Here’s 7 tips from experienced teachers to help you at this crazy time of year.
Teachers are guilty of pushing themselves to the limit, and at the end of the year, this is more the case than at any other time.
There are reports to write, documentation to complete, graduations to organise, christmas celebrations to plan and host. It is not only a physically demanding time, but also an emotionally taxing period. As you say goodbye to students who are venturing off onto the next stage of their learning journey, it can really hit you just how much these children mean to you. The relationships you have often spent years developing, are about to end and that in itself is a valid cause of the exhaustion you are no doubt feeling!
There are several ways that you can help yourself to avoid burnout. Here is a list of 7 simple measures you can take at this time of the year to help yourself feel a little less frazzled.
- Start your day off on the right foot. Give yourself enough time to do something for YOU. If your day starts feeling like you are already ten steps behind, there is a high chance the day will continue in that fashion. Set your alarm 20 minutes early (yes I know you REALLY enjoy that last 20 minutes in bed, but this can seriously set you up for a positive start to your day). Spend this 20 minutes doing something for yourself. Sit outside with your morning coffee, catch up on the news, play with your dog, or try some yoga stretches. If we start our day feeling unrushed, and with a sense of calm, it somehow magically sets that feeling as your default feeling for the day.
- Communicate with your team. You can bet you are not the only person feeling like you are about to collapse with exhaustion. Communicating how you are feeling allows others to understand the reasons why you may be a little quieter than usual. Even though we think our own emotions don’t affect others if we keep them bottled up, they still do. Your quietness could be mistaken for being annoyed with something or someone. Sharing our feelings allows others to understand and support us when we are struggling.
- EAT WELL! At this time of the year, teachers are often inundated with well meaning gestures of delicious (but unhealthy) treats. The staff room can look like a nutritionists worst nightmare! These foods, although divine, only serve to add to your exhaustion levels. Sugar crashes are very real, and snacking on treat foods throughout the day are a surefire way to add to your dipping energy levels. Be sure to indulge (it would be rude not to!) but remember to balance the increased sugary foods you are eating, with fresh and healthy fuel for your body. If you normally take leftover hot meals for lunch, switch it up with a light salad or wrap. Your body will thank you for it.
- Don’t try to be too extraordinary. There are so many things you wish to implement at this time of the year. Baking Christmas cookies with the children, learning new Christmas songs, gifts for parents, making holiday crafts…this list could go on and on. Remember that you don’t need to do everything. Refer back to point 2 (communicate with your team), and delegate responsibility for the things you all agree are the most important. If you do find the time to tackle the “extras”, that’s a bonus. Parents already think you are fabulous, and do not expect you to turn into a superhuman during the festive season. Invite parents to spend time at your learning service, they often love taking on the responsibility of taking a small group of children aside for a craft activity. It really is a time to work together as a community, and involving parents in your celebrations helps to build that sense of really “working together”.
- Find time to be you, not just “teacher you”. Do things you love: garden, walk, watch a movie, read a book or catch up with friends. Teachers are renowned for being selfless, but it is important to remember that you have a life outside of your career. Particularly at this time of the year, a happy teacher makes a happy class. If you have children of your own, remember that they also need you to be a happy and rested person for the holiday season. Most of all, you owe it to yourself to be the best version of you!
- Finally take time to reflect on your achievements throughout the year. Scroll back through your work on https://www.storypark.com/ reminding yourself of the many ways you have supported the children you work with, to learn and grow. It is easy to forget the numerous ways you have fostered children to achieve great things. Give yourself a pat on the back for the little things you have done throughout the year.
- If you are feeling like the stress is getting on top of you, perhaps a long weekend during the buildup to Christmas is just what the doctor ordered. Having an extra day to “do nothing” can do more for stress levels than you think.
Most importantly, try to enjoy the festivities. Enjoy the celebrations with the children you work with, try to see the magic and wonder of the holiday season through their eyes.