When recently trekking to Everest Basecamp, we needed to keep optimal health in order to ensure we reached our destination. This meant drinking up to 4 litres of water a day to oxygenate our blood to counteract the effects of altitude, eating a vegan diet, limiting our energy expenditure outside of trekking, getting good amounts of sleep, keeping warm and dry, and testing our oxygen and heart rate levels twice daily.
Educators heading into the winter months whilst navigating high work-rates also need to take closer care of themselves.
In a recent post on a teacher facebook page, I saw over 50 comments in relation to a post asking "Just wondering what you take to boost your immunity at this time of year?". Comments ranged from photos of vitamins, olive leaf, to suggestions of wine! It shows that the issue of getting run-down and sick is VERY REAL in our profession! However, what I want to challenge you to consider is... How much of this state of unwell are you causing for yourself?
The very nature of our work as educators requires us to have empathy and compassion towards others. But often we give to others and forget about ourselves.
Are you saying "Yes" or taking on more when you are already overloaded? Are you leaving things until the last minute? Are you trawling through social media instead of getting that 'To-do' list checked-off? A Neilson survey found that New Zealanders spent an average 7 hours 43 minutes on Facebook in a one month period; nearly the equivalent of a full working day! Are you procrastinating and avoiding the hard tasks? Are you being busy, but not necessarily productive? I recognise these because I have done them myself. I have also blamed workload when I have got sick or run-down before looking at myself.
We can be our own worst enemies...
- We can sabotage our own wellbeing for perceived 'need-to's', 'should-dos' or 'gotta's'.
- We can skip meals or not eat well.
- We can prioritise doing more work when we get home, over doing some exercise, or connecting with family/friends.
All this (and more) can lead to:
- a loss of perspective
- a sense of overwhelm
- weight gain or loss
- a lack of sleep
- erratic or out-of-character behaviour
- getting run-down and sick
As we head into this task-heavy, cooler time of the year I urge you to consider:
- How you are wrapping yourself in kindness and self-care?
- What are you saying 'No' to?
- What boundaries do you need to reinstate to maintain your wellbeing?
Let's look-out for each-other by encouraging self-care.