As teachers we are used to giving loads, pushing through, and putting other people, students, children and colleagues ahead of ourselves. We are masters at squeezing everything we possibly can out of ourselves to invest in others. We run around, fulfilling often ludicrous schedules. We are busy people. But we are also inspirational! We literally inspire, help people grow and explore, to get better and to feel better. We put other people’s development and wellbeing ahead of our own. We tell others to “take care”, “to rest”, “to take your time” but we don’t always afford ourselves the same compassion. Quite simply: we don’t always practice what we preach, do we! That's why scheduling in some proper R&R for teachers is an absolute must.
I’m part of an amazing team of teachers and facilitators at Moving Waves who deliver a broad range of creative, cultural and wellbeing activity to wide reaching communities! Every day is super busy; we are in schools, nurseries, care homes, community centres, corporate offices, and even online! Centring every single participant and their development is at the core of what we do. From arts and crafts, self-expression, dance, creative movement, drama, yoga and everything in-between, we facilitate exceptional workshops that truly invest in everybody. But do you know what? Sometimes we forget about ourselves too! So, this little blog is a reminder, to all the busy teachers across all the disciplines and settings out there, that it’s ok to stop/ pause/ slow down and invest some time in YOU. After all you gotta nourish to flourish. You can’t look after anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Think of that classic scenario when you’re on the plane waiting to set off, listening to the safety announcement, and they remind you that you must secure your life jacket before anyone else’s? And you understand that you’ve got to be in a good place, you’ve got to be safe and secure, before you can properly take care of others, right?! Look, I know you know this, and maybe you’re rolling your eyes reading this at the moment saying “I know, I know, but…” And I get it. I’m the same. But here’s the real “but”: You can make time for you; you can put yourself first and still be there for your students, clients, family, friends and everyone else you look after. (You’ll be even better for them in fact!) And, it might feel crazy and hard right now and you’re thinking “but I’m so busy, I couldn’t possibly squeeze something else in! So I challenge you, because you know how easy it is when you put everyone else first? Or when someone asks you to stay late after class, or someone else asks you to show up for them, and you didn’t really have time but somehow you managed it? Well, if you embody and practice this as much for yourself as you currently do for others then it will start to become easier and easier, until it’s just happening, and your self-care no longer feels like effort it's simply part of your routine, and better still, you no longer feel guilty about it!
And before you say “easier said than done”, I’ve got some thoughts and suggestions for us busy teachers and how we can get started. First things first:
As teachers we are used to teaching and facilitating, often stood in front of a group of people, sharing something we know, cultivating activity, sparking creativity. It’s rewarding, absolutely, and sometimes it can feel really energising, but other times, let’s be honest, it can feel draining! So, when your cup is feeling less than half full, and you’re feeling like you just want to curl up, resist the urge to hit the sofa and Netflix and instead get yourself to a class. Be the person who is responding to the teacher and facilitator for a change. Be the one absorbing new knowledge and experiences and material. It feels super refreshing.
Now as a yoga teacher I’m a little biased, but yoga really is my go-to class when I need a pick me up! The brilliant thing about yoga is that there are such a plethora of classes and workshops to choose from, and the pandemic has made access to workshops even more possible since the online class boom! Online classes get mixed responses. I have to say I’m very pro them, but I’ll caveat that by adding it is about knowing what’s right for you. For example, if you’re working from home and you literally have 30 mins in your afternoon, how fantastic is it that you can roll out your mat, stick on a video, and practice? Equally, anything meditative or Nidra based can work wonderfully at home too, because you feel so “safe”. You can wrap yourself in a blanket, snuggle in comfy clothing, and I know we all know we shouldn’t drift off but IF you happen to fall asleep, it’s no big deal (at least you don’t have to worry about anyone hearing those little snores or sleep murmurs if you do!)
But sometimes, the mood or your energy might just warrant a studio class visit! Especially if you’re taking Bikram or Hot yoga, being in the right environment is an absolute necessity. There’s also something really powerful about being in an amazing yoga class, all moving together. Even the most physically challenging classes can leave you feeling so energised and positive afterwards! Yoga is transformational when it comes to our minds, as well as our bodies. If your head has been telling you that you can’t do something, you’ll feel like you can conquer anything after a yoga class or two.
Whether it’s a well-deserved long soak in the bath on a Wednesday evening, or a morning weekend walk along the canal, or doing a meditation on your favourite app before you go to sleep, finding something that you enjoy, is manageable, and fits easily into your life so you can stick with it is absolutely key. Coming back to yoga, Moving Waves hosts an Online Yoga & Meditation workshop once a month, so it is super easy to schedule in! We release all the dates in advance so you can jot them in your diary and keep that space clear for you. The workshop is 1.5hr. The first hour consists of vinyasa flow, and the final 30 minutes is space for guided meditation, mindfulness or Nidra. Our next session is on 30 June 19.00-20.30 BST and the theme for this class is “Motivation, Energy & Strength”. Join us and give it a whirl! The class really is suitable for every body, and we'd be so happy to welcome you to our virtual studio.
Sometimes creating targets for yourself or changing behaviours can be really challenging, so pick something up that you enjoy and get your friends involved too! Even if it’s simply joining the same online yoga class – you don’t even need to be in the same space but it’s nice to show up for each other! Or maybe you arrange something with your team at work? Moving Waves deliver workshops for corporate and educational teams, so if you’re a teacher and you think your team could do with a little R&R, suggest a yoga workshop! We offer one-off, weekly, fortnightly, and monthly packages for both online and in-person sessions. All workshops are bespoke, respond to the clients’ requests and are suitable for all, regardless of previous experience. With the mountains of work that teachers have to do it might be daunting to think when this could happen within the school or college day! But there will be a time. Maybe suggest it as an alternative to the next staff meeting or part of the next inset day? (Bonus – everything you learn and absorb from these workshops you can share with the children and young people you teach too! If you’re feeling calmer, happier, and have more energy, the kids will notice this and have a positive response. Win win!)
So my key takeaways for everyone, but I’m especially looking at all the teachers out there when I write this: no matter how busy you are, no matter how full on everything feels, find something that works for you, and stick to it. Invest in you. And watch all the people around you benefit.
If you’d like to know more about what we do and our yoga classes specifically, check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to welcome you to one of our yoga workshops soon! Hope to see you on the mat on Zoom on 30 June?!