Twyla Jackson writes about coping with child and youth mental health challenges in our classrooms and her group work on a resource that partnered ETFO with School Mental Health Assist.
Well-being: Don’t Forget About Your Own
As we approach the winter break, my mind turns to the ebb and flow of school life. Many of us are running on fumes to get through the December push of school obligations and expectations, holiday celebration events, and managing the excited anticipation of our students as we wind down the calendar year. There is always the Christmas cold, which I normally get when I finally stop to breathe after that last bell on the Friday before the holidays.
I’ve been thinking about well-being a lot lately – partly because of my job and partly because I’ve reached an age where life is starting to push back. It’s more important than ever, and also more difficult than ever, to make well-being a priority. How on earth can we take care of those we care about – our students, our loved ones, our family and friends – when we can’t find the time to take care of ourselves?
Educators, by nature, are a giving and compassionate group of people. We try so hard to meet the ever-increasing demands and needs of those in our care. We consult and take courses, attend meetings and reach out to others in order to do our best. Personally we’re juggling family needs ranging from aging parents, young children or personal illness, to the on-going quest for that contract job that truly will be life changing. Is it any wonder educators report they are reaching the end of their rope?
While there are many definitions of well-being out there, the idea that well-being results from the intersection of our social, emotional, physical and cognitive realms resonates with me. Identifying these as components of well-being is easy. Finding a balance in those realms is the challenge. And yet, if I take the time to try to balance myself, to not only consciously enrich these areas in my life but place a priority on them, will it not serve everyone in my life better? A happier, better balanced me makes for improved support for all those in my life, personally and professionally.
Being an educator is hard work. Take this time to catch your breath after the hectic pace of the fall. Reflect on your successes, all the wonderful things you do and the positive impact your influence makes on those in your life, professionally and personally. Consider a plan for how you can better balance your life and take care of your own well-being as you move into the new year. Choose one thing to try and take that baby step towards supporting your well-being. You’re worth it.