The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Kelly Hannaghan

10 new year resolutions wellbeing leaders should actually keep

If you’re someone who always looks out for other people, it’s time to start prioritising your own wellbeing. Kelly Hannaghan shares her top 10 wellbeing goals for 2020.

Wellbeing leaders need to be emotionally and physically healthy. The role is a non-stop process of inspiring, planning and Implementing, and requires bundles of energy. The job demands being on top of our game.

However, just a quick look at the Teacher Wellbeing Index shows us the stress and strain educators are under. We are experiencing an epidemic of work-related stress and anxiety. As wellbeing leaders, we often feel it's up to us to make the problem go away. So how can we keep healthy while doing the job we love?

It’s a non-negotiable to set goals to prioritise my own wellbeing first, in order to serve others a diet of wellbeing

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have mixed feelings about new year’s resolutions. It seems like a natural time to make important changes – it’s like the universal pressing of the ‘reset’ button.  For me this year it’s a non-negotiable to set goals to prioritise my own wellbeing first, in order to serve others a diet of wellbeing.

1. Know you are enough!

As human beings we’re wired to function from a space of fear, often looking for threats that may arise.  This conflicts with our ever-increasing need to always be positive and solution focused. 

In fact, we often put huge pressures on ourselves to be the wellbeing superhero who changes the world. This behaviour often arises from imposter syndrome and limiting beliefs

Know you are enough; practice gratitude for yourself and your environment; bank the good things.

2. Look after yourself

Self-care is vital for your job to be sustainable. Sara Milne Rowe talks about the SHED method (sleep, hydration, exercise and diet). In this system, learning to pause, slow things down, take care of your SHED, enables you to focus on the moments that matter, and being better (whatever better means to you).

The SHED method can help you feel better under pressure and may help you make better choices.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Are you hydrated?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • Are you eating well?

3. Learn to ask for help

Remember that it's ok to not be ok and to need help. We're not superhuman. It can be empowering to seek help and learn from others. Benefit from delegating tasks to reduce your workload.

4. Connect with like-minded people

Positive relationships add value to our life. Reaching out and building networks can support wellbeing.

I'm going to try listening to one podcast a week. Podcasting is a thriving mini-industry. It's a great way to learn something new, and it's no wonder many professional relationships grow from this space.

I particularly like TED Talks Daily and For Flourishing's Sake podcasts. Connecting with like-minded people raises energy levels.

Listen to Kelly's contribution to the first episode of the Optimus Education wellbeing podcast, on teacher mental health.

5. Communication is key

A culture of wellbeing is no longer a nice to have – it’s a must have.  To attract and retain talent, our workplaces need to reflect an environment where people can thrive, not just survive.  

Make time for important conversations; in a busy school environment this can easily be missed. ‘Tea and Chat’ is something I love to do, as it’s a great way to get staff together to talk about their hobbies and interests.

6. Get the right balance

Feel you could have a better work/life balance? Follow these tips to restore harmony into your work and personal life.

  • Step 1: Set your priorities
  • Step 2: Track your time
  • Step 3: Concentrate on one thing at a time
  • Step 4: Schedule one thing you look forward to each day
  • Step 5: Respect your private time
  • Step 6: Take a look at your personal habits and general lifestyle
  • Step 7: Evaluate your work-life balance on a regular basis
  • Step 8: Set boundaries

If it doesn’t fit into your schedule or align with your priorities, don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on more

7. Stay true to your visions and beliefs

The path to success is never behind you. When you face roadblocks and setbacks, keep your vision alive and keep moving forwards. Without setbacks, there would be no feeling of victory and accomplishment. Be confident with your beliefs and stay true to yourself.

8. Know your limits

Learn to say ‘no’ effectively and disagree respectfully. Don’t acquiesce to every request that comes your way.  

If it doesn’t fit into your schedule or align with your priorities, don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on more. Achieving balance is a never-ending journey, and your needs will be different at different times in your life.

9. Work smarter, not harder

Set aside some time once every other month or so to reflect on your current workload, what you would like it to be, and what the plan is for arriving there. Work smarter not harder. 

For example, when setting up a top priority task, switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multi-tasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it. Productivity tools can be helpful. For example, the MindNode App helps me focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping.

10. Keep it real

You’re a human being, not a human doing! Track how you feel and change what doesn’t work for you.  

How much time do you spend doing things that don’t matter to you? Ask yourself, ‘if I could focus on one thing in my life, what would it be?’ We are more than our jobs; connect with the things we love and celebrate the good stuff.  

Live well, teach well and have a wonderful 2020.

What's your wellbeing resolution for this year? Share with me @mindworkmatters

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