P.E. Christmas Reflection - Finding the Balance
Christmas season can be crazy and always brings on a period of reflection. How are you travelling with your PE workload?
Admittedly at times I find myself feeling anxious, overwhelmed and jittery. Maybe even depressed. The lead up for Xmas for me means finishing 300 assessments across the school, reports, organising our junior school swimming carnival, managing/coaching as part of our interschool sports program and planning lessons on top of that… oh, and writing this blog. 😊
I try and make balance a priority of my life and it isn’t always easy, but I wanted to reflect and share this Xmas season on how to find the balance.
I feel that balance is about creation. We need to create a state of wellbeing in which we can freely act with purpose and intention in ways that are aligned with our values and goals. This means that you do things where you are capable of making decisions and taking actions without the fear of anxiety, fatigue or guilt weighing you down.
In teaching we tend to overextend ourselves way too often to try and get the most out of our students. If we overextend too much, then this can make us vulnerable and susceptible to not giving in the correct way.
A balanced life allows us to continue to have time, energy and effort needed to reach our goals and help others… but you have to work towards it.
This is like my 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – the PE version.
1. Be organised and backwards plan. Your brain wasn’t designed to do a
thousand things at once. Knowing this, take some pressure off the fella between your ears. Our school system has an amazing calendar set-up connected to our e-mail. In the last 3 months I’ve started putting everything and anything in there as it comes. It’s my virtual diary. Assessment task dates, sport carnivals, even notes to sign off on invoices make their way in there. It is my constant reminder of things to come. I’ll put a date in the calendar and a week before the date a reminder about that date if it needs actions. I even put lesson plan ideas in there for what I might do on certain days. Sounds simple, but it works.
2. Exercise for you! I know we are PE teachers, and we get enough steps in a day, but doing exercise you want to do at your own free leisure is important… maybe more so for mental heath than physical. Surfing is my thing. The sun rises where we live at 4:30 in the morning. On the days the surf is good, I set my alarm for 3:45am and get waves before work.
3. Sleep. For those of you with young families, this can be hard. A recent study showed that those of us who don’t get the required amount of sleep are more likely to experience Alzheimer’s later in life. Try and set a sleep routine, put the phone down, or better yet, out of the room and read. Reading helps.
4. Meditate. Most people laugh at this, but I have done it with students and I love it. Simply download the smiling minds app and follow the instructions.
5. Journal. Not like teenager “Dear Diary…” stuff but more like the take time out of your day to revaluate your goals type stuff. Keep track of the things your grateful for, the things that worked well and the things that didn’t. It’s elementary school, but I love the 2 Stars and a Wish approach. Two things that worked well and one thing to improve on. And if your leadership team ever asks how you reflect, you have the perfect catalogue.
6. Read. I’m not into the Potters or the Rings or Thrones. I don’t have the attention span. I love a good biography or non-fiction book. I’ve recently come across an excellent author, Malcolm Gladwell and have read 3 of his books: The Tipping Point, Outliers and David and Goliath. They are just a really good read and some with sporting reference.
7. Just say No. Not like Nancy and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s Say No to Drugs campaign, but learn to say no in a tactful, respectful way. If you’re at the start of your teaching career and you aim to impress, I know this is challenging, but as teachers we are such yes people. Learning to say no tactfully can give you more respect than saying yes and doing a mediocre job of something. Try it like this: Sorry, I have other important projects on at the moment… Sorry, I just don’t have the time for this right now because of x, y, z…. Sorry, but I have a swimming carnival to run, interschool sport to organise, assessments to grade and lessons to plan.
That’s it. It’s all you need to live a perfect, stress free life as a PE teacher. I joke. Life will always have challenges. How you manage them is what makes you the person you are. Just make sure you are looking after yourself this holiday season. Don’t try to be perfect, find what works for you and don’t do it alone.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.