Time flies when your having fun… I cant believe term 1 has passed us in the blink of an eye. How is your physical energy going?
Last year was one of the busiest years I’ve ever had and I have to honestly say that my physical wellbeing suffered. This year I have prioritized my physical wellbeing getting back to basics and adding some new habits too…. while it still ebbs and flows, I wanted to share with you my 3 ‘realistic’ tips for improving your physical energy levels these holidays and next term.
I spend a lot of time sitting on the computer, planning, creating and doing admin, all with the purpose of travelling around NSW and Aust running seminars to support teachers and their wellbeing. I work with large groups of teachers after their full day of teaching, trying to get them engaged and re-energized. I love what i do I understand energy can be low, perhaps that is why sometimes teachers can behave like talkative year 9 girls or misbehaving yr 8 boys…. lol. What this means for me is I have to work hard maintaining my own energy so I have enough to hold the space of whatever I am working in. Those of you who have seen me work, will know I put a lot of energy into a workshops, so afterwards am pretty drained, especially when I have weeks of back to back workshops and travelling.
But as a teacher, I know you feel this too.
You are well aware of the admin, planning and energy giving needed to connect with disengaged youth. You know all to well the ongoing debate we have with ourselves to ‘keep-going’, ‘push-on’ and “pick-yourself-up” day after day. In order for me to keep doing what I do and keep giving this amount to energy here is what I do. Here are my top 3 ‘realistic’ strategies for restoring your physical energy.
1 Give up alcohol (for a few weeks at least)
This was actually easier than i thought and I really enjoyed it. It was funny watching family and friends in their tipsy silliness and fascinating how the social acceptance of drinking in teaching is so high as a coping mechanism. Needless to say, I still love a good glass of wine, however these days I am more mindful about when and how much. Checkout this BBC doco if you dare… The Truth about Alcohol
2. Replace processed grains with anything but processed grains
This refers to eating a more Paleo diet, however, I’m not about to give up my coffee or cheese, so live by the 80/20 rule. I eat lots of fresh veges, protein and nuts and cut out as much as possible the sugar and carbs. Exploring new ways of eating fresh foods that don’t leave me feeling boated and eliminate cravings has been wonderful. It means being a little more prepared by travelling with home made delights but at least I don’t feel tempted by the muffins and biscuits that often appear in staffrooms. Here are some great snack recipes to bring to your next staff meeting
3. Move, bend and stretch
I have never been a gym-junkie and have always preferred playing sports, but given a I spend so much time sitting on a computer, in a car or on a plane, I just don’t have the time or routine for weekly sports, so I figured I had no option but to join a gym….the problem is I don’t enjoy the gym so rarely go. In fact i hate it. I pay every week and tell myself this week i am going yet here I sit, thinking about it and writing about it instead of actually going. I can feel the stiffness in my joints and lethargy in my muscles so I know I need it and I use to be a PE teacher for goodness sake so know the benefits.
So what was the next option?
Follow the advice I give others as a positive psychology coach , ie , find something that was flexible, enjoyable and suited my own strengths.
Use a number of different apps to track, connect, measure and engage in movement. What this means for me now is I don’t have travel to a gym, I don’t have to talk to anyone after talking all day, and I don’t have anyone watching me look like a gumby. In the mornings I wake up and go for a brisk walk with the dog or use a yoga app. In the afternoon I track my steps with my fitbit and use a pilates app. If my heart rate needs rising, I use a 7min fitness app to get me moving. The bottom line, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do something…… Yes, i know if you want to be an elite athlete you have to do specific things, however , if you are like me, getting bogged down in the admin of teaching, you just need to move, bend and stretch in some way…. regularly!
Now for the resources…..
I was going to a add a link of the best apps for health and fitness but they all looked like scary people who live at the gym with their shiny abs so instead, I’m sharing with you a TED talk from Wendy Suzuki , a neuroscientist about her personal journey understanding exercise and the brain, (for me this was more motivating than stock photos of women smiling while they squat 🙂
Hope this proves helpful as we enter the school holidays. Whether you are on holidays already or about to be on holidays, there is no better time to get moving, while you have the time. So, research some apps, plan your shopping list and remember to have fun on the journey