Happy teachers take time to rejuvenate. It’s that simple. When we burn our candle at both ends, we cannot keep our flame going forever. We need time to refuel, rest, and rejuvenate our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Prefer the video version? Here you go, friend!
As teachers, we usually push… and push… and push some more always pointing to the next school holiday for when we’ll get a break. Holiday breaks may not always be the most restful, but hopefully you do take the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate your spirit.
But how do you keep your tank full – even in the midst of going a million miles an hour during the busy-ness of the week?
How do you keep your energy up so that you can be the teacher (and person) you want to be?
The first two habits of happy teachers are all about cultivating rest, rejuvenation and self-care. Click the button above to see what the other 8 habits are.
You are the only one who knows when and how you need to rejuvenate.
But here are some things I have found in working with teachers that seem to help – and of course some coaching questions for you to consider along with the tips.
For the rest of this post I’m going to need you to think like a car…
Manage your fuel (aka energy) throughout the day:
If you start your day with your pedal to the medal, and feel completely drained by the end, then manage your fuel a bit differently throughout the day. Instead of being enthusiastic all day, try-on some low-energy positive emotions like peace and calmness. Instead of thinking in black and white – energy “on” or “off” – think of your energy as a volume control. You can still stay positive and happy while having your volume turned down, and in fact, this is how we want our students to act too – so this is a good modeling opportunity.
- How do experience your energy levels throughout the day?
- Are there peaks? valleys?
- Do you notice any patterns?
- What can you adjust to manage your energy better on a daily basis?
Manage your fuel level throughout the week:
I make a habit of looking at my upcoming week on Sunday. I write out our family schedule on a whiteboard in our home, plan meals, look at our family commitments and generally figure out how the week is going to look. I plan crockpot meals on days that are going to be more hectic in the evenings. I plan more activities in the evenings on Mondays and Tuesdays and less on Wednesdays and Thursdays when I know I’m going to be tired and want to stay home. I plan to order take-out every single Friday because I know how depleted I am come Friday evening!
The point here is this – we have to be thoughtful about anticipating our energy level throughout the week, and making appropriate decisions ahead of time that will help us get through the week without running on fumes.
- When in the week do you have a lot of energy? How might you plan to take advantage of that energy?
- When in the week is your energy depleted? How might you need to plan for that energy lull?
- What activities do you work into your week to rejuvenate? Are those planned at times when you most need them?
Plan to refuel:
When you’re on a long drive, you have to look down at your gas gauge every once in a while and think about when you’ll be able to refuel. You have to look at the road signs to see when there is an upcoming fuel stop, and you have to think about how much fuel you have to determine if you need to stop now, or if you’ll charge on to the next opportunity for fuel. Our energy levels need to be managed EXACTLY THE SAME WAY! Here’s how:
- We need to check in with our gas gauge throughout the day and week. Reflect on your energy level and envision where the needle on your gas gauge is. Developing awareness about your energy level is the first step in adequately managing your energy.
- We need to check the road signs (our schedules and to-do lists) to find times when we’ll get to refuel. Where in your schedule do you have margin to build in an activity that rejuvenates you? If the answer is none then you need to go back to your map and rearrange your road trip (see some of my previous posts on perfectionism, work-life balance, and exhaustion)
- We need to plan on refueling at those stops so that we don’t inadvertently run out of gas. Schedule times to rejuvenate. Maybe it means not bringing work home with you on weekends so that you can completely use the weekend to refuel. Or maybe it means planning a weekly hobby or event on Wednesday nights so you can have a mid-week refueling stop.
- Where in your week do you need a “refueling stop”?
- Where in your weekly rhythm will you schedule in time for rejuvenation?
Refueling is about rejuvenating our bodies, spirits, and minds. You may like to soak in the tub and listen to calming music. You may like to take time to chat with a friend on the phone. To determine what refuels you, answer this question on a piece of paper: When was the last time you felt happy, light, and energized? What were you doing or had just done? Write these ideas down on a piece of paper that can be your go-to for refueling activities.
Happy teachers take time to rejuvenate and refuel. They are mindful of their energy level throughout the week, anticipate times of drain, and take active steps to keep their tanks full so that they don’t sputter out of gas.
There are going to be moments that sneak up on us and we completely run out of gas. We are drained. We are burned out.
That’s when you have to call for help. Sometimes we can’t even get ourselves off of the road and out of danger. So that’s when we have to be able to reach out to someone close to us and say “I’m out of gas, and I need help.” Close friends, family members, spouses, or even a coach can have this role for you. These allies can support you in getting what you need before moving on.
If you are in that place, schedule a short 15-30 minute call with me to see if coaching could help you.
I want to see you THRIVE with a full tank of gas and a smart plan for managing your personal energy.
- What’s your next move??