The blurring of boundaries – how can we realign our lives to provide balance and maintain wellbeing?

The TES (Times Educational Supplement as was) is the profession’s major journal which is dedicated to supporting the world’s teachers. “Our mission is to enable great teaching by helping educators to find the tools and technology they need.” This week TES published the ‘School Wellbeing report’, which is largely reporting back for the teaching professionals and their views aligned to their work. The report reminds its readers that we do have to worry about retention of colleagues within the sector, though is optimistic in confirming that teachers do wish to care for the children and colleagues they work with, and that good relationships are key to successful outcomes arising.

Regular readers of my blog will know that the school has recently adopted SchoolsTV to provide its own media channel providing a one stop shop for parents and our community, which will over the next few months provide we hope a concerted approach to declutter the advice the now certainly can overwhelm us, and to provide a sense of calm and focus to our lived experience.

I walk. Not every night, because I might very much have been on my feet at work and at home doing ‘other’ things. But when I walk, sometimes I let my brain do the ‘talking’, and step by relentless step for the 45 minutes or so the ‘white noise’ settles down and my thoughts and priorities seem more aligned. As often as not though, I’ll stick a podcast on, and listen to BBC or some other channel that I find of interest and value. I’ve always been a bit geeky, so science and/or history work best for me, building knowledge and understanding in equal measure.

From a professional point of view, I like a range of podcasters and include ‘The Therapy Edit’ with Anna Mathur in my channel listings. After a seizure I experienced last August, I recognised I had ceased to value sleep sufficiently, and so I have recovered same by banning my phone from the bedroom and by imposing a 60 minute shutdown on use of digital screens inc TV before going to bed. I’ve also recognised that alcohol needs to be consumed on a minority of days and in moderation for the same reasons – both badly affect the hormonal balance, the biological cycles when sleep happens and exclude the natural routines that good sleep hygiene requires. You can catch Mathur talking to Dr Ranj Singh on this Sleep podcast, and (skipping the first 2 minutes of Lloyds bank advertising) gives you a good insight into the topic as well as Mathur’s easy listening style. Our own SchoolTV channel covers the full sweep of advice here.

More recently I have caught Anna Mathur (a pyscho therapist) being referenced by Fiona Cowood writing in the Telegraph in an article she has entitled “You could do a lot worse than being a lazy parent – and here’s how’. Sadly the article is behind a pay wall, but it highlights the fabulous advice that parents of children in the 2020s need to heed more of, which is “Do less”. That’s not an admonition of the work focussed beasts we may have become (I’ve always worked flat out), but actually advice to parents to adopt a lazier more hands-off style of parenting. Mathur makes the same point in the article, highlighting the twin curses being the ‘guilt’ and ‘too much research’.

The rise in mental health disorders reported both here and across the pond is linked the child’s loss of freedoms and abilities to roam. Dr Vyas-Lee, co-founder of the mental health clinic Kove writes “We definitely have a problem with children’s resilience; it’s about building up a tolerance for things being hard or difficult. If you never fall, or if everytime you call someone catches you, where is the resilience building?’ She continues “It’s useful to be reminded that allowing our kids to fail is good for them. It’s much better to spend 20 minutes one to one with your children that to give yourself over to their every whim day in, day out. Mathur adds “Children’s brains need to be bored, because those are the cracks where creativity, resilience and self-esteem grow.’

Of course life’s problems are more than just the above, but having had our lives turned upside down by #lockdown, #austerity and #working_from_home, we do need to reconvene and sort out getting the compartments of a well-ordered life back into place. Working from home is often a great reality for many adults, so separating workspace and playspace is vital, and enabling switchovers from one phae to the next is vital. Mealtimes need to become properly re-established ; the number of families that have abandoned eating together causes as much alarm in my mind as poor sleep hygiene and excessive screentime.

All of the experts I list above and so many more shine a light on us all to ‘DO LESS, RELAX, TAKE SOME TIME, SLEEP WELL’. And how did my Easter break go you might ask? A mix of schoolwork, carpentry, allotment, family time and much sleep too, thank you.

Claires Court’s own primary and secondary Wellbeing survey will be further advertised next Friday, once we have every body back into the ‘swim’ – catch that here on, Primary or Secondary.

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
This entry was posted in Possibly related posts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.