This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of John Novicki
The Spring holiday is upon us. A common cultural belief is the renewal of spring. A time to reflect upon the past, recharge and renew.
It is a good time to reflect upon the positives we have experienced this year. For most, it has been a challenging year with new professional expectations, methods and goals. Too often we find ourselves dwelling upon things which disturb our own sense of peace. Try gathering together those artifacts of your success – that really great lesson, the card you received from someone, the kudo a colleague bestowed upon you, a copy of some exemplary student work that you helped foster, a picture of a special moment, etc. etc. Put them in a folder, binder or scrapbook. Don’t let it become a dustbin of trivia but a renewable source of affirmation and strength.
Relax. You have worked very hard for months. Try and forget about school for a week. It will still be here when you return. Make the spring holiday a vacation. Dr. Susan Whitbourne commented upon the harmful effects of stress and the part vacations play in breaking the stress cycle and renew us to better shoulder our responsibilities.
“Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury. When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you’re more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way. Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions. You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed. . . Vacations have the potential to break the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines.” 1
Because of their specific responsibilities, some of us might need to come into work during the holiday. If you do, try to limit it to a single occasion. Spend time with family and friends. Your children or grandchildren will only be young once. . .
Some other spring holiday suggestions include: (some thanks to the folks at Creative Education)
Turn off the email. Configure your email to let people know you are “out of the office and not available until ____ . “ If you “have to” monitor your email (to avoid surprises or major issues here at school) set aside a time when you know you will not be engaged with your family and friends – at a time when something from school is not going to mar or spoil your peace at home (or abroad).
Schedule the time you have. Too often that “hour working on grades” becomes an all-day affair taking you away from those family and friends times. Schedule *you* time.
Eat and rest as much as you can. During stressful times we have a tendency to eat poorly as we rush from class to coverage to class to duty and so on. Pay attention to the quality of what you are eating now that you have the time. Sleep. Few of us sleep enough during the school year. As mentioned before, schedule the extra time you need to recharge *you*
Do something different. Get out. Go outside. You have been arriving in the dark, spending your whole day inside and leaving in the dark. Take a hike. And whilst we are thinking about doing something different – do something really different. Try doing something you have never done. Go somewhere you have never been. Be creative. Go play.
To some of you this might sound like some sappy holiday wish for you. It is and it isn’t.
You have a responsibility to take care of your mental and spiritual health, your family, those that depend upon you and, somewhere down the list, your professional ability. The staff of this school is its most important resource. Please take care of yourself