One thing I’m starting to realise that is being continually pushed to the side in my working life is my wellbeing. It’s something that is continually brought up in training – Are you looking after you wellbeing? Have you considered your wellbeing? What are you doing to look after your wellbeing? – but it’s also something that I don’t tend to view as a priority. In a world of deadlines and exam timetables and unnecessary meetings, making sure I take time out to look after myself just isn’t my first call. As a result, my ‘wellbeing’ has been reduced to falling asleep at 8 o’clock in front of the television, and that’s not beneficial to anyone.
For the next two weeks I, like so many bleary eyed teachers at this point, am enjoying the paradise that is the Easter break. Two weeks, student-free, and more importantly, teacher-free. Now, don’t get me wrong – my teacher friends are the way I make it through each day, but for two weeks, I’m looking forward to thinking about school as little as possible. Because, trust me, when two teachers get together, it’s impossible to talk about anything other than school.
I thought I would take this time to ‘plan’ my wellbeing wish list, not just for the break, but a plan to carry me through next term as well. It’s time I made my wellbeing a priority, rather than an optional module.
I hope there are somethings here that you might enjoy, or think about doing, as – not to sound too irritating – wellbeing is the most important thing. (Even the word wellbeing feels made up now I’ve mentioned it so much). I thought I would share with you what I have planned for the net two weeks as well as some known cures I always depend on when I feel a bit icky (can’t you just tell I’m a fantastic English teacher!)
Here it is. Do you like how I’ve seamlessly worked in my apologies for a whopping three-month absence? Did anyone even notice? No, probably not, but to be brutally honest, neither did I. I have been so wrapped up in my career bubble that I forgot that there was even a world out there. I forgot how much I love writing blog posts, and reading blog posts, and reading comments on blog posts, and researching for blog posts and… well, you get the picture. It seems ridiculous that taking about an hour out of my week to write a rambling blog post or take some cute pictures for a less wordy (and potentially less boring) blog post seems like a mammoth task, but it has. Well, (hopefully) not any more. I am going to (hoping to) write a blog post a week, but at minimum of four blog posts a month (even if that means cramming four into one week). I don’t want my little corner of the internet to fade because, knowing it’s out there really does give me peace of mind.
2. Cooking and Baking.
I truly am a baking addict. I love it. I’ve always said that being the granddaughter of a chef meant that I never had an excuse to not like baking and cooking, but I don’t think that will ever justify quite how obsessed I am with it. More than that, baking is my coping mechanism. I am sure I’ve told this story before, but whenever I need to put this into perspective for someone, I always tell the story of when, during exam season at uni, my housemate came down in the morning to find every surface in our kitchen covered in cupcakes and me standing in the middle, bleary eyed and slightly covered in self-raising flour. I love cooking and baking, I think more than I like eating the stuff. I think more than anything, I like making things for other people. And, you know what? People love eating homemade stuff, so really there’s no excuse as to why I don’t do it more often. And therefore, I guess I will just have to… do it more, I mean, not come up with an excuse.
To be fair, this is one little ritual that I haven’t abandoned. I love taking photographs and collecting pointless things that I can bestow with great significance. What can I say – I’m just a hopeless nostalgic. I love collecting little reminders of as many events in my life as I can with the belief that, some day I will be able to look back on my treasure trove and live out as many moments of my life as I can. I know what you’re thinking – that just sounds like another obsession – but, hey, I say nostalgic, you say hoarder – potato, patahto.
So, no. This isn’t something I want to pick up, but is something I’m suggesting you do. Whether you stick your memories into a book or collect them into a box, sometimes it’s nice to be able to flick through and remember all the moments and people that make you happy. It may be gushy but, trust me, it works.
4. Days out.
I have to say, I do have a penchant for exploring places. I love discovering new places that I can fall in love with, and I love returning to places that I have already started an avid love affair with. Since starting a ‘proper grown up job’, the most I have explored is discovering that my local Tescos has an upstairs Costa, and while this was exciting at the time, I think this was just testament to how sad my life has become. Well, no more. I want to actively go out and try to explore new places, even if it is just an hour’s stroll through the countryside. I have got some nice places that I am visiting coming up – including a trip to Amsterdam! – so it is just a case of being a little harsher with myself and pulling myself off my sofa.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I finished a book. I’ve started several, yes, but actually finishing them …. that seems so far in the past I can’t remember it. It’s ironic, really, considering that one of the main focuses in my classroom is to embed a love for reading, but there you go. So, not only do I want to start reading more, but I want to actually start finishing books! Even if that means not picking up a new book until I’ve finished the first. I am thinking of signing up to Good Reads again to set myself a challenge, and because I do love a deadline (see why I turned into a teacher once I had finished being a student?) I know a couple of my friends are completing GoodReads challenges as well so it would be a good opportunity to have some friendly rivalry too.
It might seem like a small list but completing all of this does seem like quite a huge task in my too-busy life at the moment. Regardless, I know that I need to tackle this head on before I burn myself out and become a weepy mess at my desk.
What are your wellbeing essentials?