Learn more about implementing mental clarity breaks with our guest-post by teacher life coach, Michelle Weeks.
Once the school bell rings in the morning, or the sliding doors open to the waiting faces of inquisitive, excited little people, your day as a human adult can seem like it floats away at a rate of knots. Now, this is not to seem like a bad thing because truly, that it such a big part of the joy that teaching brings us – being swept up in the light bulb moments, learning and excitement of the children throughout the day, but keeping up this type of intensity and energy level day-in and day-out is undoubtedly taxing.
As a result, it is vitally important for us, as teachers, to implement space and time to reconnect with our humanness throughout the day and to counterbalance this franticness with frequent mental clarity breaks.
Carving out these nuggets of golden-time in your teaching day provides you with the chance to re-centre, re-group, and avoid the whirlwind feeling of getting out of control, which leaves you feeling totally frazzled by the end of the day.
Here are 3 effective strategies to make incorporating mental clarity breaks into your day simple and accessible:
Mental Health Break Strategy One: Get yourself some fresh air!
This is probably the most simple suggestion to ever be heard, but possibly one of the more underrated too. Throughout the day we can so easily get caught up in all the TO-DOs that we literally don’t allow ourselves the chance to appreciate or recognise the fresh air we can fill our bodies with. So this strategy is all about truly enjoying some fresh air. The best thing about this strategy is that it literally doesn’t add a single extra thing to your to-do list, all it requires is a change of perspective and priority on your already required movements.
As you take that walk to the staff room, a little moment of mindfulness will be the best little nugget carving you can do. Take a few deep breaths, notice the weather, the sky, and the trees around you. Notice how your body feels and how it relaxes as you take these deep breaths in. It will be a 20-second nugget of time that will change the trajectory of your day.
Mental Health Break Strategy Two: Become intentional about how you want your day to feel!
This suggestion comes with a little bit of extra prep work – but it is absolutely worth it. It’s best to do this just before the doors open or before the children find their way into the classroom. Before the bell rings, in that calm before the beautiful storm moment, carve a small nugget of time to decide, intentionally, how you want your day to feel. For example:
- ‘I want today to feel calm’
- ‘Today I am not going to allow myself to question myself’
- ‘I am going to be present with my children today and soaking up these moments’.
By doing this, you are setting yourself up for an intentional day of thoughts, feeling, and actions ahead which means you will hold the keys to controlling how your day feels, instead of becoming a passenger on the rollercoaster of the day.
Mental Health Break Strategy Three: Escape the gates!
Often the outside world is a distant memory after entering the school gates in the morning. Leaving the school gates during the day definitely lends itself to you feeling like you are a rebel breaking curfew. So implementing this mental clarity break is all about embracing your inner rebel and getting outside of the gates. You might be thinking, ‘Absolutely not, that is not possible, I don’t have a single second for that in my day’. Yes, that thinking can feel very valid, but since you are embracing your inner rebel, you also get to challenge that thinking and give yourself permission to do it.
This doesn’t mean you have to walk around the whole block or visit the local coffee shop, even though that would be lovely, this moment of clarity can literally be gained just from taking a single step outside of those gates. This in and of itself can give you the perspective shift you need to de-escalate the franticness of the day.
So there you have it. Three simple strategies to help you implement mental clarity breaks throughout your teaching day. These, done consistently and frequently form the basis of a wonderful cumulative effect of clarity and mental energy within your teaching day, week, and year!
Learn more about our guest post author
Michelle Weeks studied a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education and has been teaching for nine years.
Michelle is now a qualified Life Coach for Teachers and offers:
- Bespoke coaching for teachers through her 1:1 series UnFrazzled
- Group coaching for teachers through her program Thriving Teachers
- Workshops for professional development in schools
- Weekly podcast episodes designed to support teachers to be confident and productive in their daily lives through her podcast Sipping Tea(chers).
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