Being a Headteacher is a demanding role that requires unwavering dedication. However, amidst the countless responsibilities and challenges, it’s crucial not to overlook your own well-being. As a School Leader who is often at the beck and call of others, taking care of yourself is not a luxury but a necessity! In this blog, we’ll be sharing four practical strategies to help you consider how best to plan to prioritise your own well-being for when the new school term starts.
So it may be best to find a quiet space, and as you review these four steps, ask yourself:
“What difference might it make if I applied each of these steps in the new school year? And what difference might it make to my overall well-being?”
Practical Strategies for Prioritising Your Wellbeing:
1. Carve Out Time for Self-Care: You are brilliant at carving out time for others. But as you know, this can be draining and create a severe imbalance when all your energy is being directed outwards, and nothing is coming back in to fill up your own reservoirs. So it’s important to ask yourself:
“What needs to be different next year, and how can I intentionally schedule regular moments of self-care?”
Whether it’s engaging in a hobby, practising mindfulness, or simply taking a walk in nature, these moments of rejuvenation will help you recharge and maintain balance, particularly when the going gets tough, and you know… as a headteacher, every term, indeed sometimes even every week or day, has its tough moments! So it’s important that you don’t become battle-weary; instead, find ways to let go of the armour and relax.
2. Set Boundaries: I know, sometimes this can feel like an impossible task. The predominant message within our education system is that if you are a headteacher, you must be constantly “On Call”. Your door must always be open, and you can never say “No”. But you know, that’s exhausting and, again, means putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. So establishing clear boundaries between work and your personal life is a must! Learn to say “no” to excessive commitments and delegate tasks when possible. Not always easy, but at least try! Protect your time and energy by prioritising what truly matters.
3. Seek Support: Headship is genuinely a funny old world. Often you are told when you are appointed that you’ll be given lots of support. Yet, for far too many, the support can sometimes feel heavy-handed and come disguised as a fist in a velvet glove. That may sound harsh, but I have worked with enough Heads to know there is more than an ounce of truth in that statement. So seek to surround yourself with those who understand your unique challenges. The most important thing is that whatever the relationship, you feel heard, valued, respected and understood. Remember, you don’t have to make this journey alone. As Brené Brown is often quoted as saying: “Asking for help can be one of the most courageous things any individual can do.”
4. Practice Reflection: On many occasions, I have found myself exploring with Heads the loneliness of leading from the top. What is often apparent from these conversations is that their loneliness has come from a disconnection from themselves and a sense of being unable to slow down long enough to make sense of the internal changes that have occurred as they have grown in the role. Sadly, we are not good in this profession at encouraging Heads to reflect and do the inner work that ultimately brings greater congruency and integrity to what it means to be human. So, as you look ahead to the new school year, consider the steps you might need to take to make reflection a standard part of your work life and routines. I know that for many I have worked with, this practice alone has led to a more grounded sense of self and wiser decision-making.
As a Headteacher, your well-being is the cornerstone for the success of your school. By prioritising self-care and consciously nurturing your well-being, you will enhance your effectiveness as a leader and create a positive ripple effect within your school. Remember, you deserve the same care and attention you so willingly give to others!
Would you like to deepen your Reflections?
To help you further assess and nurture your well-being, we have created our Headteacher Wellbeing Self-Assessment. This self-assessment will guide you through key areas of well-being and provide valuable insights. It will serve as a starting point for developing a personalised plan to enhance your overall well-being.
We invite you to take the first step towards prioritising your well-being by completing our Headteacher Wellbeing Self-Assessment today.
Click here to take our Headteacher Wellbeing Self-Assessment and embark on your journey to enhanced well-being.