The Power of Rituals in Developing Teacher Wellbeing

The Power of Rituals in Developing Teacher Wellbeing

Developing Teacher Wellbeing

The way we are working isn’t working for teachers.

‘74% of employees are experiencing an energy crisis.’ Tony Schwarz

‘I have so much time to do all the things I need to do’ Said no teacher ever!!

Time for all the marking and the lesson plans and the meetings, and creating resources and the parent meetings and time for that student who is falling behind, and the student who is miles ahead.

But time is a finite resource and no matter what you do you will never generate one second more.

A sobering thought though is that you and I have the same amount of time as a Mother Teresa or a Martin Luther King or even a Nelson Mandela (who spent a large part of his years in jail). We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week.

The difference is the quality of our lives is how we spend that time and whether we use the most effective strategies to maximise the time we have.

I recently read Tony Schwarz’ book, The Way We Are Working, Isn’t Working. He passionately proposes that we focus on improving and expanding our energy rather than thinking about time, because it is the vigour we bring to a task that makes it exciting, inspired and dynamic, not the amount of time we expend.

Have you ever noticed that when you take a break from a task because you are feeling frustrated, tired or just over it, you often come back renewed or better able to problem solve?

That’s because you actually needed a break, both physically and mentally so that you could function properly. Putting long hours into a task without renewal breaks is false economy and can lead to feeling depleted, overwhelmed and burnt out.

One way to increase energy, Schwarz recommends, is developing healthy rituals.

He claims that a civilisation advances by increasing the number of processes they complete without thinking about them. When he talks about rituals he is referring to the practices that support you to show up to work in the best emotional, physical and mental state you can.

It made me think about some of my morning rituals which include:

  • 10-minute meditation
  • 45-minute power walk in nature
  • Drinking a warm glass or water with apple cider vinegar or lemon
  • Dry brushing before my shower

The power of these rituals is that I feel better when I do them. and like something is missing from my day when I don’t. Think about how you feel if you ever forget to brush your teeth or put on deodorant- just feels wrong!

Over time you develop rituals that suit your own lifestyle and your particular needs but it is more effective to put thought into deliberately deciding on the rituals that will enhance the quality of what happens in your classroom as well as in your life.

When you schedule the activities that support you to live your best life, like spending time with your loved ones, exercising, eating well, your energy for work will explode, making your more efficient and more effective.

It’s about putting your efforts where you will get the most benefit.  If you are interested in supporting your own health check out Teacher Wellbeing Workshop

When teachers show up to school as their best selves, well-prepared for lessons, in a calm state and aware of how to manage button-pushing behaviour, rested and well-nourished, the results in the classroom are obvious.

Teachers who arrive at school already stressed and overwhelmed are fighting a losing battle from the start of the day and will find it difficult to show resilience and flexibility.

Teachers who feel positive and optimistic because they have developed rituals that support their wellbeing and being organised, cope much better with the inevitable challenges and stresses that come with teaching.

Now its your turn. What rituals do you use that work for you?

Marie Amaro