Two phrases we hear often in not only education but in the work space as a whole as well as throughout society are balance and self-care. Its so easy to go into rabbit holes of work, work, work, and nothing else if we let it consume us. We always have to be sure we make a valiant attempt to strike the right balance between work productivity, life, self-care and making sure are personal connection needs are met,
One of the things that struck me often, especially before the Covid-19 pandemic completely upended our collective worlds in early 2020, was how “great” I was at maintaining a “work-life balance.” Every day I would cut off from from the outside world almost entirely while at work. As soon as I left for the day a switch seemingly occurred, I was done. Able to focus almost exclusively on friends, family and myself for the rest of the day, weekend, etc. I’m very accessible at work — all stakeholders have my direct number — but it was wide known not to contact me unless an emergency after work hours. I had this down.
As the pandemic rolled along and our lives changed to a work from home model and gradually in person then fully in person throughout the 2020-21 school year, I started to read more about moving away from this “work life balance” model and instead thinking of balance as an ongoing circle. This has been something I’m striving to do, and self-care is woven in.
This TED Talk really spoke to me. It was filmed just as vaccines started to rollout in early 2021 and we were about a year into the pandemic. Our lives had totally shifted. How do we focus on building capacity in others? Instead of taking on so many tasks ourselves embrace those around us. Share. Lead by example. Shift. All the adjustments that have been made as school leaders from the beginning of the pandemic, ongoing and throughout — wow. Mind blowing in retrospect. What did we learn? How did we adjust? How are we better? How will we maintain balance going forward?
For me personally, I dedicate time and space 6 days a week for self-care in the form of fitness. 30-90 minutes daily. If I have plans in the evening I’ll get up earlier in the morning and knock it out. Must be a priority. For both my physical fitness and overall well being but also time to completely disconnect from the outside world. Excuses go out the window. Just do it.
I also devote time and space several days a week for friends and family. Uninterrupted and again, disconnected. The personal connection time, no matter how busy we get, it vital. Also is completely focused and connected on the person (or people) not our devices.
Time and space for hobbies for me its been walks 2-3 times a week alone or with a friend enjoying the community, nature, the area and fresh air. Refreshing. Also, listening to music, specifically my love for vinyl a few times a week. Losing self in music can be so beneficial. Blogging, writing and taking time to read a book for pleasure can also give great joy. Find hobbies that bring you joy, relaxation and a brief pause from the day to day grind.
All of these forms of self care are also intertwined in our balance and something that is so beneficial for our overall well being.
We always have ways to stop, pause and reflect. This was an area I struggled with for so long. Now I focus on daily — a priority. All around. Balance. Self-care. Mid-2021 and beyond. How are you doing? Real talk. You are 1 of 1. Limited edition.