Forget elf on the shelf; your focus needs to be on yourself and your mental health!
- Be kind to yourself.
Christmas is a busy time in schools with the additional pressures of concerts, Christmas events and managing student excitement as well as your usual duties, not to mention what’s going on outside of school, like visiting family, nights out, present buying and card swapping. After an already exhausting term, you might be spreading yourself even thinner to get everything done. Make sure that you give yourself time to rest, say no when you need to and be realistic about what you can and can’t do.
- Reframe your thinking.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a cycle of negativity when we expect the worst and this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You might have a class that is becoming increasingly challenging as the excitement about Christmas rises or perhaps you have meetings to attend when you are also snowed under with marking and data. When things are not going as you planned, give yourself three minutes to look at the situation differently and ask yourself ‘if this situation was going as planned, what would I look like?’ Imagine yourself calmly and positively handling the situation. Visualise what the prime outcome would be. Picture how you would speak, move, respond. Positively preparing for an event can make you handle the situation in a completely different way and hopefully will also mean you have a better outcome.
- Get the balance right.
Everyone knows the saying about ‘everything in moderation’, but it doesn’t mean that everyone always follows this advice! Mental and physical health go hand in hand so you need to make sure that you are getting a good healthy mix of food in your diet, enough sleep and sufficient exercise. Planning ahead and being prepared will mean that you can make healthy choices that will help to fuel yourself through busy, wintery days.
- Seek help if you need it.
Christmas is presented as a time of happiness, family time and fun, but sometimes the reality can be very different. The winter term is a time when you can often arrive at and leave work in the dark and sunlight feels like a distant memory when rain pounds on the window panes. If you feel persistently low, are having trouble sleeping or feel overwhelmed, make sure you seek appropriate help. Talk to a trusted friend, your line manager, HR or your doctor.