How was your weekend? (Building Relationships at Work)

Recently I have been challenging myself to engage with my colleagues on a more personal level.

Why? Because to be honest this is something I am just not great at. I have one of those personality types that is all business and go go go!
Now when you want something done, this isn’t a bad thing, but when someone just wants to be heard, I have been known to overlook this. So I am working on it.

I am sharing this because as teachers we are surrounded by people every day and often we don’t realise how much our own personality may impact others, be received by others or even the messages we send out just from our facial expressions, tone or things we do and do not say.

Moving from the classroom into leadership this is something I have really had to reflect and take feedback on. Often in the classroom, we don’t really think how our own personality reflects on our students, because, for the most part, they are compliant, but working with adults can definitely bring this to the surface.

Ever wondered why we gravitate to some people and not others? Ever wondered your circle of friends are somewhat similar or have the same interests? Ever wondered why your students manage to make their own groups in your classroom when you try so hard to have them be friends with everyone? Well, it is because our personality type is attracted to other personality types, and when we find our click we stick to it, searching for other people with the same traits, and we don’t even realise we do it.

Now, this is fine where we can control the people we are with, but often in the workplace, we have to work with all sorts of people, and some who are just not our people.

There is beauty in this though. Working with others outside your normal click can be a challenge, but also an opportunity to learn about yourself, and others too. It is an opportunity to learn about who you are and how you connect with others, and in return how other people operate too.

The lessons here can be hard, uncomfortable and sometimes scary as well, but you have a real opportunity here t

o grow into an even better person, to develop better relationships, to be able to work with a wider range of people.

Now depending on who and how you are and who you are working with, this will look very different. It may mean saying less or saying more, asking more questions or answering them, giving a helping hand or pulling back, laughing more or laughing less, or it could be as simple as starting each Monday by asking your colleagues ‘How was your weekend?’.

If you are interested in learning more about your personality type, I recommend doing this online DICS self-assessment below to give you a little more information:
https://www.tonyrobbins.com/disc/

I’d love to know what you have connected with here or what surprised you?

Work/Life balance means sometimes doing more work

So here’s the thing. We all want work/life balance, but work/life balance comes in two parts; work and life.

This means that whether we like it or not, as much as we have life, there is also work, and sometimes this means rolling your sleeves up, putting in the hours and getting the job done!

There are times as a teacher where our workload can be a little, or even a lot higher. For me, I find this occurs around 2 key points. Reports and end of the term.

Reports are probably the most time-consuming part of our job. The hours spent analysing student work and assessment, moderating with colleagues, compiling and writing comments and ticking boxes, it’s a big task. End of term for me is similar because I am a believer that if you do the work at the end of the term for the next term then you really can go off and enjoy your holidays.

This is all part of work/life balance.

If you want to enjoy holidays or weekends, than at these crucial points in time the workload during the day simply must increase. Otherwise, the choice you are making is to take work home and complete it on weekends and holidays, now if this works for you then that’s great, but for me, I like my life part of work/life balance to be exactly that – life!

Now because this is my choice, around report writing time and end of term I simply work harder, more hours and stay later to get the job done. I choose two nights a week to stay until between 6 and 7 pm to do reports, and at end of term another late night or to make sure the next term is organised to where I know I won’t have to do work in the holidays and can start week 1 day 1 as if it was tomorrow.

What does this mean? Well, by doing a few late nights, putting in the time, and getting organised I am now free to enjoy weekends and holidays, rest and relax without the doom and gloom work cloud looming over my head and can switch my brain off completely knowing everything I need for when school goes back is taken care of.

For me, this is self-care, this is work/life balance, this is what allows me to not have to work at home – EVER! This means I can do all the things I love; travel, spend time with family, read, play, be outside, rest, relax, laugh, sleep in and try every new coffee shop in town, EVERY weekend and EVERY holiday!

 

Now I understand this option isn’t available for everyone, but you do have the choice to decide when you can work hard and when you need time for other things. You have a choice around how you use your time. The thing here is to use it so that it serves you, whatever that may be for you. For me, it is a no-work holiday and no work on the weekend. If you feel most of your holidays or weekends are spent working, especially at these points of time through the year, ask yourself where you can make some small changes to allow you to have better work/life balance?

Stuck? contact me and mention his blog and we can work it out together.

5 things to do on school holidays so you actually get a holiday, and get your work done too!

Holidays are nearly here, we have been waiting for this, counting down even, yet the holidays as we know will be gone before we even lift those books to mark into the house.

Making a plan for holidays is as essential as planning your day, if not holidays end and you feel like you need another holiday just to get everything done.

So can you make sure you get the most out of your holidays, feel rested but also like you have achieved what you intended?

Here are my 10 tips for making the most out of holidays:

  1. Make a list (actually 2)

Holidays are about 2 things; relaxing and getting stuff done. The best way to ensure you get both of these things done is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Why 2 lists? One for school related stuff and one for home/life-related stuff. If it is not on the list, it most likely won’t happen, or will loom over you when you are trying to relax and enjoy your time off.

 

  1. Plan out when the stuff on the list will happen. This is a simple case of ‘plan to fail, fail to plan’. I find there are two ways people approach this; either it is getting the list stuff done in the first few days and taking the rest of the time to relax, or relaxing first and using the last few days of holidays to get stuff done. There are also a small few who like to do something each day; maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when everyone else is asleep. For me, I like to have holidays all to myself so I work hard the week before school ends and once I finish up on the last day I am done. This is purely a decision you have to make for you and how you best work.

 

  1. Schedule the items on your list. It’s one thing to have a plan and know morning you are going to do something, or you have 3 days before you are off on a cruise so you must get everything done, but without a schedule, you are leaving most of it to chance and from my experience, this just doesn’t work
  2. You need a schedule for what you will do when, and this needs to be done in advance. Break the time you have into 30minute chunks and schedule in exactly what to do when, This way when you get started you know exactly what you are doing and you don’t have to worry about what to do once you start. No schedule is a recipe for procrastination and a great way to get distracted and end up doing nothing. Once you have your schedule you will be sure to be ticking things off your list.
  1. Add time to relax and take time off to your schedule. It is easy to think we have plenty of time in holidays to relax and recharge, but it can easily happen that holidays are gone and we haven’t really stopped at all. Plan in time for time off. It is that easy.

 

  1. Decide what you will do for self-care and relaxing. It is easy to say you want to do it, and even set aside time for it, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is likely you will end up doing nothing or even worse, school work or housework because you just don’t know what to do and you can’t sit still! So what do you want to do? A holiday or short break somewhere, read a book, get a massage, learn a new skill or take up a craft (I love time for macramé). It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter you know what it is, and you put this in your schedule.

 

There you have it, 5 steps to ensuring you get the most out of your holidays, get your school work done, home/life stuff done and also make time for self-care.

 

Whatever you do these holidays, make sure you enjoy them, you deserve it.

It’s OK Not To Be Happy All The Time

Being happy all the time is a myth. Being happy all the time isn’t something that everyone needs to aim for all of the time. Yes, we want to be happy but it’s unreasonable to expect happiness to be the only emotion we feel.

We have a range of emotions as humans so that we can experience things on all kinds of levels. If we were just happy all the time we’d only experience happy things, things that make us happy: joy, love, all of the things that bring you a smile. But this just isn’t the case.

Life can throw all kinds of things at you. Just when you think you’re on the rollercoaster of happy, something can be thrown your way and all of a sudden you can find yourself plummeting down.  Down fast, down to the bottom, where you are filled with emotions that you just don’t want to feel.

Experiencing all the emotions are a part of life. Being 100% is actually allowing yourself to feel all of the different emotions. By giving yourself permission to feel sad when you’re sad, angry when you’re angry, hurt when your hurt, disappointed when you’re disappointed, frustrated when you’re frustrated, you’re allowing yourself to be human.

Yet too often, many of us are taught that the only way to feel is happy.

Unfortunately, what this does is it makes us chase an emotion which sometimes just doesn’t serve us.

It’s important to feel different things in different ways for different reasons. How do you know what happiness really is if you don’t experience the other side?

You can’t experience cold without hot, you can’t experience sunrise without sunset, you don’t have Ying without Yang or salt without pepper, and you can’t have happy without all the other emotions as well.

So why is it so hard to feel these emotions?

At some point in time, you may have been told only babies cry, or that it’s a sign of weakness, that being angry is OK but sad isn’t and the being disappointed just isn’t worth it. If any of these sound familiar, or you can even think of your own examples, it is likely that these things you were once told, or even shown (which means you probably have no idea it even impacted you), dramatically impact the emotions you allow yourself to experience now. You see emotions are a choice, and we can change them when needed, but suppressing them or not allowing them to be heard first, only causes us more pain and discomfort.

So here is the challenge, I want you to feel all your emotions. Allow yourself to have them come naturally, give yourself time, space and presence to be with them, then ask yourself the following questions:

What emotion do I feel?

Why do I feel this way?

What am I learning by feeling this emotion?

What am I getting out of feeling this way?

Is this real?

How do I want to feel?

Could I change my emotion?*

These questions are designed to get you in touch with your emotions, to have you consciously check in with yourself and bring awareness to how you feel.

(*The last question is the next step, I’ll do a follow-up blog on this next week)

Remember, as you go through this process, be kind to yourself, anything that makes us more mindful of self can be challenging, confronting and sometimes bring up other things we didn’t know where hidden deep within us, if this is you, let it be and see what else you can learn about yourself from this.

If this is something you would like to explore further, please do get in touch, and we can work on this together.

Why I spent a weekend by myself and what I learnt.

Recently I had a weekend to myself, just me, no one else, nothing to do but what I wanted!

This was 100% by choice.

My partner was off away for the weekend, and I was home alone. I did think about going to visit my sister and nephews, or my brother by the beach, but all of this just seemed a little too hard. Normally I jump at the opportunity to be with family, but this time something was different. I couldn’t find the energy, the excitement or even the will to drive there.

I was tired. I am tired.

The past few weeks have been full on, and my body is feeling it. My brain is foggy. My energy isn’t great and my skin is breaking out in cold sores; all signs I am tired and my body needs rest.

So that is exactly what I did. Rest. Sleep. Nothing.

I chose to put me first. I chose to rest. I chose to read, to lay by the pool, to do nothing.

I chose to make sure I was balancing this with other things I know my body needs; a good workout and coffee with people on my level, eating the right foods, going to bed early and 2 nights of 8-9 hrs sleep, yoga and getting my meals ready for the following week.

I chose to spend the weekend doing what I needed, and also what I knew would make my week better.

Having time alone is for some people a really scary thing, but for others, like me, it’s a must. My message here isn’t that you must spend time alone (Although I think everyone should, as there is so much to learn by spending time with yourself), it’s that you must listen to your body, know when to rest, know when to pause, and know what your body needs.    

Having self-awareness and knowing this is a skill, it takes times and it is hard to do in a world that is busy, noisy and where everyone else demands you, but it is so important to put you first, fix you, take care of you – just liked you do everyone else.

Invest time into knowing you, it’s essential to your happiness.

At the moment work is noisy, schools are noisy, shops are noisy, even the streets and their Christmas lights are noisy. Make some time to be quiet. Listen to what you need. Put time aside for you.

Waking up this morning I know I am in a better place. I am rested. I am calmer. I am more focused on what is important and putting the other things out of my head, my mind, my now.

A weekend alone was just what I needed.

First Impressions Matter – and so do you.

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First Day – First Impressions

I imagine some of you, as am I are starting a new school this year, and just as the saying goes – first impressionss count.

So how do you want your first impressions to be?

This is where you show your standard of excellence.

Too many times teachers turn up to knew schools and hide. Hide behind clothes, hide behind laptops, hide behind people.

To really shine and be who you are you must step up. Especially when it comes to first impressions.

So what do you need to do….

Not much, but you must know this:

You are worthy. Carry that into your knew setting. Don’t listen to the negative self talk that sometimes shows up… The doubt, the fear, the nerves.

These are normal and completely valid, but they aren’t you, they are just how you feel.

You should be feeling a little nervous and maybe scared too. You’re starting something new.

But there are also some things you need to know…

First impressions are built on your appearance, how you speak and what you say.

So dress to impress. Be confident. Add value.

You are there because they chose you, because they want you and because you have something to give. So give it.

I know you can.

Have a great first day no matter what you are doing!

Amy x

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