Trying to keep a firm grip on a to-do list that never ends, I took advantage this weekend to remind myself that every yes means a no somewhere else. Looking at my phone for a work text means you miss your girl taking a shot on the basketball court. Committing to a conference means creating presentations and tweets to share, vs naps. Choosing to read school books mean your new advance copy of a murder mystery sits lonely on your nightstand. How do you choose what gets done?
As a principal, I was very guilty of regularly providing self-indulgent treats. Jeans pass. Snacks. Rewards that felt good at the moment but ones that didn’t necessarily have a long-term impact. Think fast food over a nutritious meal…which one leaves you feeling full longer? Given my love language is “gifts”, this shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone who knows me!
The pandemic helped me see how we could provide actual self-care, something that intentionally nourished the physical, mental, or emotional well-being of our staff. Providing a safe space where our team could share honestly how they felt (think tears) to looking at what we could cross off their plate, even temporarily, was helpful. Helping establish boundaries where teachers were given permission to focus on their families was important.
This season is different and yet, still kind of the same.
Our teachers are overwhelmed. Our leaders are overwhelmed. Principals…you’re in such a no-win position right now. You’re still carrying the weight of academic expectations while balancing the well-being of your people…all your people. People are out, sick, or taking care of the sick, but you still have a building to run. Looking at the typical strategies I normally share these, hopefully, are less of a cupcake, and more of a protein bar. 😉
How can you help?
- Help your teachers identity what HAS to be graded: how many grades are your teachers taking? Could that number be lessened?
- Make your meetings meaningful. How did they help your staff be better tomorrow?
- Lesson plans: reevaluate your expense.
- Let your people set boundaries: no emails after a certain time or on weekends. Model what it looks like.
- Remember that nobody dies on our watch. Our to-do list CAN rollover. My husband is a fireman, and trust me, that ISN’T true in his profession.
- Everyone on your staff is different. Breaking points vary…keep an eye on your people!
- Learning is most important. That requires knowing how to figure out what’s most important, do it well, and let go of the rest.
- Snacks. I don’t care what you say…SNACKS ARE SELF CARE TOO!!
Above all, recognize that you can’t do it all, and everything is not equally important.
I hope this three-day weekend found you doing something that was self-indulgent but also…some self-care. Something that fills your bucket or reminded you of your why. And especially to my principal peeps, you can do anything,
Cheering for you &