When you are working in a school, engaging day-to-day with children and their families, teachers, support staff, governors and other adults, you will know that you expend great amounts of mental, physical and emotional energy meeting the emotional needs of others.
The long meetings, difficult conversations and fires you’ve had to put out over the course of the term (whether you realise it or not) are very likely to have taken their toll on you and your energy levels.
That’s why it’s so important that you use your holiday time to really switch off from the pressures of running a school, sit back, relax, re-charge your batteries and above all, focus on your emotional needs.
It’s a unique opportunity for you as a school leader to give yourself some real ‘Head space’, so that you can clear your emotional and mental decks and begin to prepare yourself for the new term. If you don’t, you will run the risk of starting the new term only partially refuelled.
You’ll start the new term thinking you’ve relaxed over the break, having switched off from all the pressures of running a school, whereas in fact your mind may have switched off, but your emotions haven’t.
Creating Head Space
So if you think you might be in danger of returning to school only partially refuelled after the break, here are a few quick tips!
– Make a regular quiet space for yourself – a place where you can make some time for both your mind and body to be still.
– Have a guided conversation with a coach or some other professional. As it is not always easy to listen to yourself. A coach can help you to tune into your own voice and distinguish it from the others that are competing for attention inside your head.
– Pay attention to your feelings, in the quiet spaces, or when in a guided conversation with another, learn to tune into your feelings. Bottling them up, will do you no favours. Acknowledging them will help you to process them properly, so that any negative emotions do not linger around in your subconscious and stop you from being fully yourself
– Savour good memories as the emotions connected with them will actually help to build up your emotional resilience and place you in a much stronger mental and emotional state for starting the new term.
– Above all else don’t allow yourself to become a martyr to any negative emotions by over thinking difficult situations and blaming yourself for any negative outcomes. Find a way to process your thoughts and related negative emotions, so that you can leave them behind and move forward refreshed and re-energised ready to start the new term
A Chance 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…