November 6, 2019
Try the tips below to create more work-life balance. Feel free to share these and share other tips you have found that work.
Identify and eliminate those nonessential tasks (remember the tips in the Oct. Wellness Wednesday about prioritizing). One way to apply this is to apply the 80/20 rule, to your workday. Vilfredo Pareto was an economist that theorized we get 80 percent of results from 20 percent of the work we do. Consolidate time spent responding to emails and grading papers. While emails and grading are an important part of our job, it shouldn't be what we spend most of our time on. Choose a time in your day that you respond to emails and grade papers and try not to deviate from that. Use that time for that and don't allow emails and grades to overwhelm you.
Close relationships at work increase your job satisfaction. Remember you're not the only one who feels stressed at work. Talking with colleagues and teammates whom you can vent with, ask for help or share a laugh with can do wonders for your well-being. You are not an "island." Building relationships are an essential part of being an educator. When we lean on one another and share our work load(s) we are better able to deal with what's is happening at school. The majority of our day is spent talking to children (children who think they're adults...but children nonetheless). Taking time out to catch up and debrief about the days events can be just the energy boost you need.
Give yourself a break
Get away from the classroom during the day increases your productivity. Eating your lunch at your desk between classes isn't a break. The operative word in the phrase "lunch break" is "break." Getting away from the classroom or your office, even if it's just for a few minutes, can help you be more creative. Since many of us don't have classrooms or offices with windows we can begin to feel a bit antsy. Take time to walk around outside and get some fresh air (weather permitting). Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D which is supports the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system. Get up, and move around. Remaining in one place all day can be draining.
Take time to savor your success in a way that's meaningful to you. Educators who leap from task to task without recognizing the value of their achievements can become burnt out and find their work unrewarding. These rewards could take such simple form as ice cream or a movie after work, as long as the educator takes the time to savor a job well done.
Set boundaries at home-both physical and mental. If you do need to bring work home, make sure you have an office or a designated working area that your can close the door on. Allot a certain amount of time you will work and stick to it. Whether you have a family or not, your time is valuable and you should treat it as such. Don't check email after a certain hour to ensure that you have uninterrupted time with your family. And have one day a week where you're completely offline in order to disconnect from stress.
Cultivate a life outside the classroom/office
Hobbies are a fun way to decompress from the day. Start or reconnect with a favorite hobby. It doesn't matter if it's skydiving or stamp collecting, as long as it's an activity that lets you forget about the classroom and remember who you are as an individual.
Schedule time to do nothing
Doing nothing when you have a lot to do may seem counter-intuitive, but it works. This might be especially difficult to do when you feel overwhelmed with planning lessons and grading papers. Resist the urge to do it, or rather, don't do it anyway. Most of us feel guilty when we aren't doing something, even on the weekends. So we check our Facebook feed or our email or jump on Pinterest (guilty) for a few hours. Researchers say distraction-inducing behaviors such as checking our phones stimulates dopamine production and it feels good. The downside is we lose connection with ourselves. So if you absolutely must do something, practice mindfulness meditation.
Get an adequate amount of sleep
Lack of sleep is detrimental to your health, well-being, and productivity. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Aside from the health benefits, getting sufficient sleep protects your from reaching job burnout. Lack of sleep is a $63 billion hit to the U.S. economy due to lost productivity. Sleep helps you to better recover from stress and improves your working memory, which affects your ability to problem-solve and make decisions. The more sressed out you are, the more sleep you need each night to adequately recover.
As always...remember to breathe!