It has been an unprecedented Autumn Term with everyone in the education sector working tirelessly to provide our children with as consistent a curriculum and as normal a school day as possible. Even with the absence of a global pandemic, taking time out to relax is vital for wellbeing and good mental health.
Poor mental health is listed as the 4th most common reason for sickness absence in the UK, and with this in mind let’s look at some benefits of ensuring you use the Christmas break to completely switch off and take some time for yourself. Thrive Global came up with 5 reasons why this is important:
- Mental Clarity – constant stress can cause the brain to become cloudy and less focused, but even a single day away from the hustle and bustle of work can help clear the mind.
- Improved Productivity – passion can wane when feeling burnt out, which can lead to a lack of drive and interest in your role. Taking a break can leave you with a new lease of life!
- Better Balance – taking time away from work can help you realise what it is you enjoy to do outside of work and can encourage you to keep a better work-life balance once back in school.
- Improved Focus – no matter how much you love your job, it can become monotonous. Having a break gives you the opportunity to refocus and look at things from a different perspective.
- Better Relationships – spending time with your family and friends is vital for improving your mental health. Whilst this is more of a challenge with Covid-19 restrictions, however, you go about it, make sure you connect with people this Christmas.
Bearing all of this in mind, there is a growing push for workplaces to provide ‘mental health days’ where employees choose to take a day off when they are feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. The science behind this shows that allowing people to step away when they are at capacity means they return to work 100% committed and refreshed. Whilst this would be difficult to implement in schools, the concept can still be used in your own time. Allocate a day during your Christmas break used purely to improve your mental health. Do something that gives you joy and peace, be that going for a long walk, reading a good book or speaking to friends.
As teachers, we are often guilty of never switching off, with lesson plans and teaching ideas swirling through our brains at all hours of the day (and night). We hope by considering the above, you will use the Christmas break to take a thoroughly good rest. You definitely deserve it!
To support you wind down for Christmas but be prepared for the return in the new year, we have created a ‘pre-Christmas checklist’ that you can access here.
Merry Christmas from everyone at Active Education Co. See you all in the new year!