When you work in the teaching profession, you know your job does not just stop when the bell rings. It is all too easy to get drawn in to a constant cycle of endless work, but this benefits no one, especially not you.
You may love your job, but everyone loves their out-of-work life just as much. Stress is the most common cause of newly qualified teachers leaving the profession and it is often because they are unable to detach their work lives from their home lives. Teachers want to do and be the best they can, but no one can survive the demands of the teaching profession if they cannot strike a good work/life balance.
We work with hundreds of education professionals from every discipline all over the UK and we want our teachers to be happy teachers, so we thought that as you should all be enjoying your summer holidays, here are our top tips for maintain a good work/life balance when you do return to the classroom.
Back away from your email/social networks
Remove yourself from your email, social networks and any other online distraction. When you are a teacher you often associate with other teachers outside of work, making it much harder to detach yourself from the “office” environment. Switch your laptop/tablet/phone off and then switch off from the everyday stresses of your professional life.
Schedule your life
If you feel that there is never time for yourself, diarise “your time” and make sure everyone knows that it is your time. Using a diary to keep track of what you should and should not be doing is a great way for busy teachers to compartmentalise work and life outside the classroom. This may not work for everyone, but for those who live by schedules (and those that do not – try it)setting aside specific time to enjoy life will make a huge difference.
Make time for the things you love doing
There is nothing more frustrating in life than knowing what makes you happy but never making time to do it.. Life is about being happy and if you are not spending enough time doing what makes you happy, you need to address this immediately.
Have a hobby
Following on from above, if you do not have a hobby already, find something you love doing and make sure you prioritise time every week to do it. Hobbies challenge you, calm you, develop a wider circle of friends with similar interests, make you more creative, and give you an outlet you might not even realise you have.
Do not feel guilty
You are entitled to a life outside the classroom (it may not always feel that way) and you should make sure that YOU know this. Guilt can be a driving factor in keeping you glued to work when you should be relaxing. Instead of guilt, feel gratitude for the time you have outside of school. Tell yourself that you deserve your home life and soon enough, the guilt will wash away.
The simplest things in life bring the greatest pleasures. Stop, look around you and soak-in the beauty of the world. Appreciate the little things, go for a walk, relax in a sauna, smell the roses! Whatever you do to appreciate the simple pleasures, make sure you incorporate them into your everyday.
Learn to say no
Finally, be ruthless. To achieve a good work/life balance you need to have the courage to be able to switch off, and that starts by having the courage to say no. If you cannot be ruthless, be polite, but firm. You need a life that does not always involve work, so make sure have the courage to start living it.