Why teaching staff need to treat themselves

Treats from grateful students and their parents are lovely to receive on the final day of term. While we applaud this sweet sentimental tradition and know many teaching staff appreciate it, we think treating yourself is just as important.

Can you remember the last time you treated yourself to something? If it was five minutes ago, congratulations! If you’re racking your brains trying to remember or you already know the answer and it’s never, it’s time to think seriously about doing something nice for yourself.

Self love may sound like a phrase that belongs in the 1960s but at the Education Support Partnership we believe that promoting wellbeing starts with the self. It also sets a good example to students and staff. And your children if you have them. It’s a way of modelling how you might like others to treat you too. So for example if you like to buy or pick fresh flowers from your garden or window box for your workplace, home, or both, it shows you care about your working environment and want others to as well. The great thing about having fresh flowers dotted around the place is that others benefit too. By showing you respect yourself enough to brighten up your work area people will respect you more too. Self love isn’t selfish.

Little acts of kindness

The mental health charity MIND takes self caring very seriously. This is because a low sense of self worth can stop you living the life you want to lead. Many of us find it easier to accept that we shouldn’t take the important people in our lives for granted. However it’s just as important we don’t take ourselves for granted. This mean don’t assume you can just cope, that you’ll always be healthy. That you can manage. Care for you in the same way you hope others will care for you.

Little acts of kindness go a long way to oil the wheels of daily interaction - you make a colleague who’s clearly feeling a bit stressed a cup of coffee, you carry out a small chore for someone you know is over stretched. It’s not difficult to persuade people to try to include such acts of kindness in their every day lives as the benefits are obvious. But why it is hard to persuade people to carry out acts of kindness purely for themselves? Perhaps because deep down we all fear messages from childhood that told us not to be selfish, always to think of others? Education staff are trained at putting others first. So it can be tough to stop and think, but what about me? Indeed what about you? You matter too.

You really are worth it

We may feel encouraged by advertising that’s all around us to think of treats as something that cost money. Go on, treat yourself messages from hoardings and TV adverts yell at us. You deserve it. You’re worth it. What these ads really mean is, give us your money. However a treat doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. Taking time for a walk, watching a rubbishy TV programme you know you shouldn’t but can’t resist. Reading a trashy novel. Guilty pleasures are perhaps some of the loveliest sweet treats we can award ourselves. And many of them are free.

It’s also a good way to get through a tough task you can’t face but know you have to do. “I’ll do this then I’ll reward myself with a treat,” is a good coping strategy for the kind of chores we all put off and put off as long as we can. An earned treat feels especially nice.

Fun ways to treat yourself

The best part about self treating is that you know what you like. And it can be spontaneous or planned. It can even be a bit of fun thinking of ways to treat yourself. By doing so, you are boosting your wellbeing and improving your overall health. If you’re healthy and happy, others around you will be too.

You probably have lots of work planned for the coming break and won’t welcome any more but here’s a nice task to set yourself. How can you incorporate treats into your daily working life when term starts again in September? And in case you’re struggling to think of things, here are some suggestions:

  • Spending more time with friends - friendship is often sacrificed by people leading busy lives. Factor in friend time even if it’s only a natter on the phone once a week or month.
  • Learn about wildlife. Don’t just go for a walk - go for a walk with purpose. See how many species of birds and flowers you can spot.
  • Plan “date” nights just for you - if you can. Time spent alone if you’re usually surrounded by others all needing you for something can be delicious. Even if it’s only once a month, it’s something to look forward to. They can do without you one day or evening a month can’t they?
  • Go for a drive. You probably spend most time in the car, if you drive, going to work and back, fetching shopping or being a chauffeur for your children and their friends. How about just getting in the car and going for a drive for the sake of it?
  • Crack open your favourite boxset and have a binge watch.

How we can help

  • Help for individuals  
    Sometimes work (or just life) can be tough. A challenging student, workload pressures, personal financial worries; there are many stresses on those who work in education. That’s why we offer free, confidential help and support, no matter what your problem.
  • Help for organisations 
    Working in education is demanding so we’ve designed a set of services to help you check how your teams are coping, troubleshoot problems and boost everyone’s wellbeing.