Teacher well- being and self care
I was recently at an event for teachers talking about education, supporting children, their health and well- being and what really struck me, that was as teachers we know everything we need to do and can put in place to support the kids, yet when the question come round to teacher self care. and well being, what we need to put not place to support ourselves, we stall, falter, delay at offering answers. This sent alarm bells ringing for me. Like it really got me worried at how good we are at being there for others, but not for ourselves.
We really need to make our health, teacher health, self care and well-being a priority.
The fact is teachers mental health and physical health issues is on the rise, with so many people off work ill from stress, burn out, exhaustion, physical symptoms from the for mentioned, or leaving the profession all together, something has to crack and given and rather than it be our health or bodies, it needs to be the system to support teachers, We are all too good and doing things for others, but what detriment does this have on our health, relationships, families, and what are we truly reflecting to the kids we teach and others if we aren't living with true health and vitality,
But nothing can change unless we make the call for it.
How many of us as teachers would spend money on the kids we teach, without thinking about it, but baulk at spending money on ourselves, on the simplest of things like a really nice bubble bath or some flowers for ourselves?
Teacher health and well-being, is out there on lots of lists, schools policies, unions to do lists etc but really how many of us, how many authorities, schools etc actually truly support it and make it a priority, I once saw a tweet from a Head Teacher in England who supported his staff to have a well being day in whatever way that supported them, going for a massage etc
How many of us make taking care of our bodies our number one job? What are we truly offering and reflecting putting everyone else first? And why are we made to feel so guilty or bad for saying no or taking care of ourselves first?
My concern is that what is on offer, the talk about staff well being is a token offer, a gesture and it; can't be this, it can't be a positive posture or a wall, or staff room notice board, an almost tick the box gesture, but is frowned upon if you are ill and off work, or say no to taking on that one more thing, because you need to go home and spend time with your family, look after your body or rest.
It has to start with self, feeling we are worth the care and love we deserve, and realising that when we support ourselves yes in this way it naturally supports others without having to do anything.
It's not about fighting the system, but being able to say no when you need to say no to extra work, go for a walk at lunchtime, leave school to spend time with your family, to make our number one job looking after our bodies and health before anything else. It's gonna be hard when everything else it set up to not make us do this, but the rewards we will reap, both physical and mentally are huge, not to mention the ripple effect it has on everyone else.
This is a great video by Dr Gabe Mate on, Caring for ourselves whist caring for others, it's well worth watching.