Planning for a stress-free summer

Monday, 16th April, 2012

SunAs we embark on a new term, the last of this academic year, what are your thoughts about how it will unfold?

Are they filled with excitement, enthusiasm and energy?

Or do you start like this, then the enthusiasm wanes when an excess of external (or internal) pressures arise? Egg In Vise

The school summer term is often a very busy one, usually packed out with  last minute exam preparation and administration, teacher assessments, school performances, trips, sports days … not to mention report writing and parent’s evenings. When I taught full time, I’d start with great enthusiasm but this could often wane.

So how do you ensure you don’t burn out before you’re even half-way through the term?

Here are some ideas that I used to see me all the way through to the end of term:

1. Pace yourself

An obvious one, and perhaps easier said than done. But with a little bit of planning and foresight you can ensure you have maximum energy at key times. As a starting point, on a term planner identify the weeks where you’ll need most energy. Aim to expend less energy in the previous week(s) to build up your reserves. Also, tell yourself that it’s OK to not be working flat-out every day, all day!

2. Know your limits

This is about knowing when you’ve reached that tipping point where – if you continue – you’ll become ill/stressed. (NB Stress = excess pressure that affects emotional, physical or mental wellbeing and will be different for each of us.) Address these moments by avoiding any default ‘saying yes to everything’ setting you may have!

3. Create great resilience

How quickly do you bounce back from exposure to sources of stress? Resilience isn’t something you’re born with, you can develop a capacity for resilience given the right work conditions and attitude. Practise techniques to de-pressurise situations, establish realistic expectations of your role, and take advantage of challenges – turn them into personal growth opportunities – this will help to make future similar situations more tolerable. More on this topic in a forthcoming blog.

4. Adopt a healthy approach

  • Eat food that gives you the most energy
  • Ward off summer colds/viruses by keeping up the Vit C
  • Avoid caffeine late at night as it’ll inhibit a restful sleep. For those nights where you’re working late, go for caffeine-free instead
  • Avoid dehydration – I’ve found that putting a bottle of water somewhere that I pass regularly helps as a reminder (on the desk, by the door …) Take a sip each time you pass (or as often as you can!)

How do you ensure a stress-free (or stress-reduced!) term?

debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.