It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the role of being a Head, to the point that your private life simply drops off the schedule as you work on autopilot, just getting through the day. But this is dangerous, not only for your health and your relationships, but for your school life as well.
If you’re working on autopilot, you’re going to crash eventually.
No matter how much you might not want to admit it sometimes, you’re a person in a role, not a robot. This means that you have all of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs that people have, including that of work life balance.
So many Heads just assume that stepping into this role means an end to their work life balance. They put their heads down, get through day after day hoping to make it to retirement, and end up totally incapacitating themselves.
This is tragic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s preventable!
If you’re currently in “robo-Head” mode, don’t wait for a crisis to force you to reevaluate. Instead, bring some consciousness into your work life balance. Look at how things are now, what’s working and what’s not working. If you find yourself saying a lot of “Yeah, buts” — as in, “Yeah I should spend more time on myself, but…” then ask yourself, “What does it cost me, my family, my friends etc, to keep making these excuses?”
Creating a plan for your personal life
When you started in your position as Head, you set some goals and developed a plan of action steps to take you towards them.
You would never dream of simply showing up at work without a plan, seeing what happens, and hoping for the best. But if you’re like most Heads, that’s exactly what you’re doing with your personal life. If that’s the case, is it any wonder that your work life balance isn’t as it should be?
So try creating a plan for your personal life the same way that you would for your school life, and — this is the important bit — treat both plans equally. You have to follow your personal plan with just as much dedication as your work plan, or you’ll end up right back where you started. In order to make this work-life balance, a success you’ll need to:
1. Make yourself a priority. Remember, you can’t give anything to your school or your students if you’re burned out, and if you’re not creating work life balance for yourself, you’re just a ticking time bomb.
2. Listen to your body. That lingering headache, those knots in your shoulders? They’re all your body’s way of telling you that something’s off. Listen to it before you end up making yourself really ill.
3. Create pockets of “you” time. You have to have time to reconnect with yourself away from the pressures of school or home, so try to find at least 30 minutes a week of time that’s all your own. One Head I knew had a great way of doing this: he scheduled out an hour a week as “me- ting” time so his secretary wouldn’t schedule anything else in that time. He would then use that time for private reflection and renewal without feeling guilty.
4. Find Support – As a school leader, you do an amazing job! Every day you invest enormous amounts of time, energy, passion and commitment – seeking to create better futures for our children and the communities you serve.
This isn’t easy to maintain. Particularly, after a long week and the inevitable challenges of your role, it can often feel as though your energy, hope and emotional reserves are in short supply.
That’s why I believe it’s vital that you have someone who you can turn to, who can offer you a listening ear, support, encouragement to help keep you going towards your vision.
As when we are afforded this form of support, a chance to be truly ourselves, we are given a gift; a gift that can heal the pain of our unmet emotional needs and can provide us with fresh hope to drive us forward.
This is crucial as it reminds us that, amidst the chaos of school life, we are worthy, we are valuable, and our story has the right to be listened to. Moreover, it gives voice to…
– Our inner most concerns and worries
– Emotions and feelings and feelings that may have been bottled up and kept inside
– Our thoughts and hopes of how things could be
Above all, when we have this support, we don’t just what we need to survive, we discover instead how to thrive.
That’s why I’m now offering FREE “Coaching for the Soul” Calls to give school leaders the opportunity and space to be listened to in this way.
If you are a senior school leader, this 30 minute call is designed to give you a chance to:
– Talk through and get support with the challenges you’re currently facing
– Explore what you want out of life as a School Leader
– Reflect on recent events and the impact they have had on you
– Gain clarity around your thoughts and plan a way forward
Places are limited – so if you are determined to take charge of your own well-being, book today to avoid disappointment