You’ve made it! I am sure there have been times this term, when you thought this day would never come! But here it is. The end of term has finally arrived.
Reports have been written, final meetings with parents and governors have taken place, goodbyes have been said to staff and pupils and now it’s time for you to say ‘goodbye’ to your ‘to do’ list and switch off for the holiday break.
Now is the time for you to let go of guilt and fully indulge in taking care of yourself. If you need a few helpful hints to set you on your way, then here are five tried and tested tips to help you get proper rest and renewal during the holidays.
Tip 1: Remind yourself that it’s OK to put yourself first
You’ve spent the majority of the school year, putting other people’s needs before your own. You know just how emotionally and psychically exhausting this has been. Use the holiday period to redress the balance. Make a list of all the things that you would like to do for yourself. The list can be as long or as short as you like.
What’s important is that whatever’s on your list nourishes and nurtures you from the inside out. They should be things that fill up your wells again. They should be endeavours that help bring back a deep sense of connection to who you are and what matters most to you.
Tip 2: Disconnect from your phone and emails
Over the school year, you’ve probably developed the habit of constantly checking your emails and phone and being at the mercy of messages that ‘demand’ an immediate response. Now is the time to break the habit! If you are going on holiday and taking your phone with you there are a few simple things that you can do:
– You can decide to switch off your phone. Ask yourself, do I really need to have it by my side? What impact will it make on my ability to truly switch off and relax, if I am still taking calls – either personal or professional?
– Switch off emails coming through to your phone. If you do this it’ll help you overcome any temptation to scroll thought your screen to see what’s in your in-box.
– Perhaps the most radical of all, decide for the duration that you are away to completely switch off from all social media and electronic devices and allow yourself to appreciate what happens when we fully ‘disconnect’ from the world and the busyness of life.
Tip 3: Re-visit hobbies
The holidays provide a great opportunity to revisit hobbies that you may not have had time to invest in during the school term.
Allow yourself to become like a child again and re-discover the delight and pure joy that comes from being totally absorbed in something that excites, interests and absorbs all of your senses. Gift to yourself the time to develop a craft or a skill that will put you back in touch with the part of you that school life may have caused you to neglect.
The part that you know deep down inside is an essential part of who you are and when paid attention to will enable you to show up as a much more rounded, whole and complete version of yourself.
Tip 4: Relax in Nature
There are numerous amounts of scientific research that point to the fact that nature can be one of our dearest friends, if we take the time to fully appreciate it.
A walk in the park, a stroll on the beach, a climb up a mountain, a swim in the sea all have far-reaching positive effects on our health and well-being. Time in nature literally allows us to recalibrate and let go of the stresses of modern day life; Natural light helps us to sleep better, fresh air helps reduce blood pressure and simply appreciating ‘Nature in its finest’ lightens our mood and increases our overall sense of well-being.
So, wherever you are in the holidays, make a commitment to really take in with all of your senses the gifts of renewal and refreshment that nature has to offer you.
Tip 5: Learn to appreciate stillness and silence
I am convinced that in our working lives that we all make a greater difference when we invest time to be still. In silence, we can either reflect on the decisions and choices we have made and hence grow in wisdom, or we can simply choose to quiet the noise in our heads and appreciate the beauty of just being.
Over the holidays, I would suggest making time for both. I am in no doubt that it will have been a long and eventful school year for you.
You will need time especially at the start of the holidays to process and reflect on what the events of this past year have meant for you and to identify the lessons that you will carry forward into the new school year.
Once this has been done, try and carve out regular moments of stillness through-out the break; times when you consciously let go of your thoughts and the temptation to identify with them and instead, simply allow yourself to appreciate the beauty to be found in being still.
An opportunity to Stop and Reflect
In order to sustain high levels of personal performance, confidence and motivation (particularly amidst the challenges of School Leadership), I believe our leaders need chance to explore the questions that are of real importance to them as a person and in their roles.
They need chance to step back from the daily grind of the role and reflect on the leader they want to be, what inspires and drives them as a leader and what they need to do to keep their hope alive.
That’s why we offer our “Developing Headspace” Programme, consisting of a 2 Day “Transforming Leadership” Residential in Suffolk, Group Nurture Meals, coaching calls and a half day “Review and a Reflect” session, all designed to support and enhance Headteachers’ capacity for authentic, inspiring and sustainable leadership.
The programme hopes to offer a space for reflection and active, informed listening, for Heads to renew perspective, think strategically, build lasting networks of support and refresh the vitality of their core purpose.
Spread across three school terms, the programme includes a range of activities designed to provide on-going care, support and encouragement for Heads across the school year.
Above all, it is our aim to ensure that the programme supports school leaders in 5 key areas…
Vision: Central to all aspects of the programme are processes and ways of working individually and collectively that keep individuals anchored to their vision.
Values: Heads are supported to identify ways of being that increase alignment with themselves and their key values.
Resilience: As Heads develop a deeper understanding of how they respond to the stresses of the role, individuals are supported to develop greater degrees of emotional, psychological and vocational resilience.
A Values Network: The programme design facilitates the development of new supportive and collaborative relationships with like-minded peers.
Confidence: As individuals experience a growth in self-awareness and appreciation of their core strengths, they also experience a growth in personal conviction and increased confidence in their own abilities.
If you’d like to find out more about the programme, and how it could help support you in your role, simply follow the link below…