- The removal of our strict schedules can be overwhelming, or a gift!
- Tips to use this TIME to take care of yourself & create lasting habits.
This is quite a time to be a teacher. Has anyone else noticed that since Distance Learning, we have more time and less time all at the same time? It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s absolutely true.
There are some days I feel so productive I want to high five myself. And there are other days I go non-stop, but don’t feel nearly as accomplished. It might be because for the first time ever, we have some control over our daily schedules. No Pledge of Allegiance to officially begin the day, no bells to end class, no specific lunch time or prep time or dismissal time.
Our predictable, daily time restrictions have vanished, which can either be downright overwhelming or conversely, downright exciting.Our predictable, daily time restrictions have vanished, which can either be downright overwhelming or conversely, downright exciting. Click To Tweet
Let’s examine how we proactively approach this TIME so we feel accomplished, fulfilled, and maintain work/life satisfaction.
T: Tackle Tasks
Before mid-March, how often did we say, “If only I had the time…” and then list a task we’d hope to complete? Maybe it’s a long phone call with a friend you haven’t connected with in a while. Or perhaps it’s designated time to exercise, complete a home improvement project, or prepare healthy meals.
Well guess what?! Now we have that time!
Think about it. We’ve only known and followed a tightly scheduled, dictated school routine since we were 5 years old. So it can be a challenge to navigate a more fluid schedule.
Although we all want to return to our normally scheduled school lives, we also want to make sure that when we do return, we feel like we harnessed the opportunity to nurture ourselves a bit more than we ever could within the confines of our tradition school routine.
I: Invest in Relationships
Positive psychologists overwhelmingly agree that 100% of happy people have one thing in common. Strong social relationships.
Want to increase your happiness? Find opportunities to strengthen the personal and professional relationships in your life through conscious acts of kindness.
These don’t have to be grand sweeping gestures – send a simple text to let someone know you are thinking about them, email a colleague to thank them for something, or maybe walk across the street to put some baked goods (or a bottle of wine!) on a neighbor’s porch with a little note. The best part about taking the time to nurture relationships is that not only does it make your friend/colleague/neighbor happier, research shows that it increases your own happiness as well! It’s a total win!
I have a little calendar reminder each day to encourage me to reach out and strengthen my connection with a friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague. I’ve promised myself that when we return to our “new normal,” I will re-enter feeling that my important relationships are as healthy as they’ve ever been. I am grateful for the opportunities to invest in them now!
I know. Some of you are rolling your eyes. I get it. But here is the thing – any light or heavy research will undoubtedly tell us the countless reasons why physical movement positively impacts our mental and emotional health.
Is exercising fun? Not always.
Do we feel better after we move our bodies? Always. 100% of the time.
We no longer have the excuse, “I don’t have time to exercise.” We just have to find the time in our flexible schedule to make it happen.
If your eyes are still rolling and you need a little push to make this happen, I recommend reading Spark by John Ratey. You’ll be lacing up in no time!
E: Enforce Boundaries
With this increasingly flexible and fluid time, we need to be sure we are protecting it! Last month, we learned how we can free ourselves a bit from the stress and constant connections to our phones by creating a few healthy phone boundaries. But that’s just a part of it. Since we don’t have that hard and fast beginning or end of our school day, our work days can easily stretch into the early morning or late night if we don’t enforce some healthy parameters.
Here are some of boundaries I’m enforcing to proactively protect my time and happiness:
- Non-negotiable login and logoff time (power down AND close the laptop lid!)
- Lunchtime (We don’t have to eat our lunch of microwaved soup in 23 minutes standing over a copier! Seize this mid-day opportunity to eat good food and connect with family!)
- Consistent bedtime (this goes for the whole family!)
- Time to myself (to read and watch a show that makes me laugh!)
Accomplish a task. Reach out to a friend. Move your body. Protect your time. Then get ready to walk back into our new normal a bit more balanced, aligned, and happier.
This is quite a time to be a teacher![scroll down to keep reading]
How do you want to maximize your TIME? Pick an idea and give it a try! I’m starting with a task and organizing my guest room closet!
ABOUT SUZANNE DAILEY
Suzanne Dailey is proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a Masters Degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.