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Teacher Wellbeing for the Summer
This year has been incredibly hard, that is why teacher wellbeing is a top priority to us. A teacher’s resilience and strength are highly admirable and something that should not be taken for granted.
“One lesson we can draw from last summer is that teachers adapt quickly to change and are prepared to go the extra mile to do right by their students. The last year has been relentless and exams, or the lack of them, has only been a small part of the burden.”
It is true, that while the world was in a panic, teachers created a safe place for students to be themselves and keep their health safe. But teachers just want a normal year, especially after Covid. The rise in anxiety among educators has risen, the Education Support Charity found in their annual teacher wellbeing research that a terrifying 52% of teachers reported having difficulty sleeping during the pandemic. According to the research, this number has grown by 37% in the past two years. Another study conducted by the NASUWT Teaching union found that: one in fifty teachers had dark emotions during the pandemic. A quarter of them had taken medication to help deal with stress at work and another 12% had started therapy.
Teachers are expressing their needs through social media, stating that they are looking forward to resting during the Summer, and hope that things are back to normal by September. And it’s no wonder teachers deserve a break, the Department of Education confirmed that this school year “may have been the toughest that teachers … will ever face” Therefore it is important to highlight methods that help teacher wellbeing, especially during the summer.
That is why we are welcoming the summer with open arms, keeping in mind how grateful we are for the progress we have made, but also how our strength has kept us going.
We have created a list that we think will help practise self-care and teacher wellbeing.
Take your Sweet Time
No, it’s no time to rush or even do things quick. After a year of stressing and having to rush into adapting to new policies, teachers deserve to slow down. Relax on the couch watching your favourite series, catch up on all those books you’ve wanted to read – the point is, take your time. Do not let anyone rush you or make you go quicker than you want to, savour each minute and hour you spend with yourself.
Sometimes life throws things at us that make us question our decisions and our way of thinking – and sometimes it’s hard to take control of life when things seem so overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to teach yourself how to stop and take a moment to process your own emotions. When it comes to teacher wellbeing, focus on all the good things you have achieved this year and feel proud of your success – teachers are unique, so you can bet there is no-one just like you!
If you must prep, do it in
Don’t spend the whole day prepping and organising if you feel overwhelmed and stressed, it is better to plan your day and allocate time to prepping for the next academic year. We know how stressful this can be, therefore take your time and don’t forget to put your needs first. Summer break is also a time for you to rest, so don’t forget to do exactly that!
Whether it is sleeping, eating or exercising, make sure you have a morning or evening routine. For some people, routines can get repetitive and boring, however for some, it keeps them grounded. It might be easy to ignore one’s feelings and suppress them by keeping busy or relaxing, yet it is much better to have something to focus on that makes you feel good and productive. An article on mind, tells the story of Claire and how establishing a routine really helped her mental health.
Finally, some time to catch up with all those people you miss! It is important to keep socialising whether it is through video calls or meeting up for a brief coffee. Keeping in contact with your friends will provide you with a strong trustworthy support system and also keep you in the loop if any of your friends need support. You and other colleagues can also keep in touch and support each other through prep work and training.
Meditation: Time for You
Sometimes it’s hard to feel grounded and present and when you are used to having a noisy class you might feel strange the first few days of your break. Meditation gives you a safe place to let go of what you are feeling and to ground yourself, so you can enjoy your days without feeling overwhelmed. With anxiety, stress and depression being the result of this hard year, meditation can help reduce its symptoms. A medical study found that 63.6% of people reported that meditation had helped a great deal with these symptoms.
Social Media Break
It’s easy to fall victim to self-criticism and low self-esteem. With the whole school year, you might have felt that you have missed out on new trends and activities. Taking a social media break is helpful for those who are struggling, inverting that time into something that keeps your mind active such as pottery, journaling, reading, gaming, or enjoying the outdoors.
Summer is the perfect time for getting stuck down with any activities that you’ve always felt like doing. Hobbies are things that you enjoy doing which can lead to lower stress levels, clear thinking, and high motivation. Some hobbies you could try are: scrapbooking, photography, knitting, baking, gardening… the list goes on, but essentially, whatever you decide should make you feel good about yourself and help you relax.
If you would like to know more on how to support your staff or yourself, why not check out our blogs on teacher mental health and school staff wellbeing.