Take a break…have a kit kat

Take a break…have a kit kat

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Only those of a certain age will remember the adverts about kit kats….the concept of taking a break, with a cup of tea or coffee, feet up and a nice kit kat. As we approach the summer holidays I have to say I’m really looking forward to a break myself. We’ve had a busy year this year (not complaining), and I’m very much looking forward to more next year – but the break is much needed.

If you work in schools I know you’ve heard many times “you get such long holidays, what do you do with them?’ – even “don’t you get bored?”. But as a parent I know that it actually can go by very quickly. Before we know it we’ll be back with a vengeance dealing with targets, pressures, children’s behaviour and all that comes with working in education.

So I wanted to give you some tips today on how to make the best of your break. I know for many of you you’ve probably already got your holidays sorted, what books you’re going to read, places you will go and people you’ll see but it’s also a great time to get some well-earned rest, take a step back, maybe reflect on some of the things that have happened over the last year, take stock and possibly make some changes.

Wherever you’re at right now I hope these simple tips will help you over the next six weeks. If you’re already thinking about next terms training, please take a look at our training dates as they are already available with early bird offers.

  1. Know where you are. Having a break can give you the time to reflect and maybe realise some things you’d been ignoring. For example feeling stressed seems to be part of everyday life, but there are moments when it can become dangerous. If we are living at a heightened stress level for too long we can become burnt out and even experience a breakdown of some kind. Check where you are at right now. How stressed do you feel on a scale of 1-10 and what can you do to alleviate that stress?
  2. You have a big but. No not that kind of butt. There is a reason why you do what you do. Reconnect with this over the summer. When we are fully aware of why we do what we do i.e. your work with children, it can motivate us to stay focused. Our why needs to be bigger than the buts that threaten to stop us succeeding.
  3. Find your still point. Quietness is a rarity these days. Take some time to be quiet, breathe and experience nature if that’s your thing. Be in the moment and appreciate what is around you.
  4. See the progress. Take a look back over the last academic year and mark those little moments of progress in your work and your personal life. Things that may have been huge or tiny steps towards something. Often we miss those as we are charging onto the next goal.
  5. Belly laugh. It’s great to have a really good laugh. When you see children proper belly laughing it can be contagious. Take a look at this video and try not to laugh – I dare you.
  6. Time for you. I know for many of you these 6 weeks may not actually be a rest from children, you have your own children to spend time with or family and friends – which is great. Make sure though you have some time for you. Do what you enjoy and make sure you balance your time well.
  7. Make it your intention to relate. Friendships and relationships are so key to us all. This is a time to connect with people you may not have been able to over the term. Make sure you intentionally spend time with those you want to and be present with them when you do.
  8. Stop beating yourself up. Sometimes what we do with vulnerable children can be draining. Seeing little progress or continually banging your head against what seems to be a brick wall can be hard. Be kind to yourself over these summer weeks. Make sure that if you do regret some things that may have happened that you give yourself a break. What can you do to go easy on yourself this holiday?
  9. Work pressure. As you take time to reflect you may also of course consider what your role is like at the moment. I know the education system in general is a difficult place to be in right now. Maybe you want to re-evaluate what’s important to you. Could you go back in September and set some different rules with your school? Might you be able to take some of the pressure out of your working week in some way? You might feel powerless in that but you can give it a go – you never know, when you speak up someone may actually listen.
  10. Who’s there for you? You have spent the whole year being there for the children you teach or look after. Who is there for you? Who is your support, mentor, friend, counsellor – people who have your back and who you can turn to? Take stock this summer of your relationships and if there’s a gap how will you fill this? You may want to suggest something like supervision at work. This is a concept we don’t seem to accept in school but I know some of you are working with very difficult children and young people and you need an outlet. Someone who will carry that burden with you. If you can’t find those people in your school, then look elsewhere. Organisations like ourselves or books and resources can support you. I have had the most valuable support from people I’ve never actually met – read their books, listened to their podcasts and heard them speak. There are many ways to find the help we need if we will only look around us.

So I wish you the very best over the summer weeks. I hope you get lots of rest and relaxation and come back refreshed with a determination to make a difference next year. If you are still struggling with a summer read, I suggest our book ‘The teachers Introduction to Attachment’ – light reading for the beach!

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