Have yourself a merry little Christmas: 7 wellbeing tips for the festive season | Education Support
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Christmas tree - wellbeing tips for teachers and education staff

Have yourself a merry little Christmas: 7 wellbeing tips for the festive season

8th December 2020

Deputy head Sarah Mullin shares her tips to help teachers and education staff navigate the first Christmas during a global pandemic.

The festive season is well and truly upon us. Our school halls are filled with the singing of children preparing for their live-streamed Nativity plays. Christmas trees and twinkling lights are decorating school Reception areas across the county. And while many teachers and education staff are looking forward to a well-deserved rest this Christmas, we also know that Christmas in 2020 will be a holiday period like no other.

Here are a few little tips to help us navigate our first ever Christmas during a global pandemic.

1. Be prepared

Many people strive to have an Instagrammable picture perfect Christmas, but it is important to be realistic about our expectations. Travel restrictions and health fears may mean that family members won’t be able to celebrate together, and some people may have heightened anxieties due to Covid-19, in addition to potential strains on relationships, family struggles or financial pressures. Talk about your concerns with someone you trust, and remember that the Education Support helpline is only a phone call or text message away if you need them.

2. Value your time

Your time is finite - use it well. Surround yourself with people who affect your life in a positive way, and never be afraid to say no to situations that do not bring you joy. This Christmas, make sure you spend the time you need to practice self-care. Your own wellbeing must come first.

3. Do what’s right for you

While many educators love turning on their ‘out-of-office’ emails on the last day of term, for others, the Christmas holidays may present the time needed to catch-up on a few tasks that there just wasn’t time to complete due to the pressures of the last term. Do not judge yourself by someone else’s standards or working preferences; you know best what works for you and your own wellbeing. However, do take some time off work this Christmas so that you can recuperate from last term in preparation for when school reopens in 2021.

4. Create healthy boundaries

Working from home during lockdown blurred some of the boundaries between work life and home life. This Christmas it is time to establish clear boundaries between personal and professional responsibilities so that we can look after our own health and wellbeing in addition to being more productive at work.

5. The power of positivity

Flip the narrative on negative thoughts. Try to find the positive in every single day, even if some days you have to look a little harder than others. Always remember that tough times won’t last forever, and when good things happen, appreciate them fully. It’s often the little things in life that matter most.

6. The gift of giving

In the words of Anne Frank, nobody has ever become poor by giving. Whether it’s helping a self-isolating neighbour with their shopping, or giving up your time to help a local food shelter, helping others is a great way to nourish the soul. Very often, happiness does not result from the Christmas presents we receive, but in the acts of kindness we give to others.

7. Stick to a routine

Many of us cannot wait for the odd lie-in this Christmas, and there are sure to be days where we want to do nothing more than indulge in watching festive films in our pyjamas.  Where possible, try to establish and maintain a routine this Christmas, ensuring you manage to get plenty of rest. Plan to spend some time outside in the fresh air, and try to make sure you don’t dip into the tins of Christmas treats too often. It’s important to have both a healthy and happy Christmas this year.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and while the thoughts of Christmas presents, mulled wine and  mince pies fill many hearts with glee, it is ok if you’re feeling like the festive season is not going to be wonderful this year. Please know that you are not alone in feeling this way and help is always at hand.

Wishing educators everywhere a very merry Christmas, may your days be mostly merry and bright.

Sarah Mullin is a Deputy Headteacher at an all-through school in the West Midlands. She was named a Rising Star in Education and Academia in 2020 and she is the recipient of the ‘Contribution to Education of the Year’ award. Sarah is the curator of ‘What They Didn’t Teach Me on My PGCE’ and the founder of #EduTeacherTips, a YouTube channel for teachers by teachers.

How we can help 

Teachers and education staff who are feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times can get confidential emotional support from our free and confidential helpline: 08000 562561.

What can you do?

If you’re in a position to help others in these extraordinary times, please consider supporting our Christmas appeal so that we can continue to answer the increasing number of desperate calls and grants applications we are receiving. Thank you so much.