First aid for teachers

In the same way that “Covid kids” may currently be experiencing heightened anxiety in these uncertain, unprecedented times, we must consider that so too might the adults.

Daniela Falecki from uses the DRABC acronym that is so familiar from first aid training to spell out some strategies to support teachers who are struggling and may need to refocus on their self-care. But I suspect that her ideas may be just as applicable to grown-ups who don’t work in a classroom, too.

D stands for divergent thinking.

⭐️ Be creative and think outside the box. Be willing to try new things and to seek out what’s possible, as opposed to fixating on all the things that seem impossible.

⭐️ In amongst the increasing demands placed on us from all angles, sort the wheat from the chaff in order to prioritise what you put efforts towards.

R is for Rest.

⭐️ Rest your mind. Mental fatigue is crippling and stress is bad for your body. Remember to stop and take a breath. Try to be present. (THE SIMS have known this one all along!)

⭐️ Create opportunities to switch off from work and to play and to have fun. Actively work towards calm moments as gifts to yourself.

A is for awareness.

⭐️ How much time do you really dedicate to checking-in on yourself? How often do you consider your needs and whether they’re being met?

⭐️ Fill your own cup in order to be able to quench the thirst of those in your care. Guard yourself against burnout.

B is for Believe.

⭐️ Believe you are enough. Avoid perfectionism.

⭐️ Model a growth mindset.

C is for Celebrate.

⭐️ Recognise your accomplishments (every day).

⭐️ Keep a gratitude journal. Ask yourself “what went well today”?

Now here’s my version.

D is for Diet Coke. Oops! I mean…

D is for Diarise.

⭐️ Be organised. Maintain a teacher’s diary. Keep lists and experience the satisfaction of ticking things off as you complete them.

⭐️ Put “to do” lists in priority order and give yourself small stretches of productivity time without distraction. Then take a break and then get back into productivity again.

R is for Relationships and for reading.

⭐️ Surround yourself with positive, passionate people who fill your bucket. Keep friendships strong.

⭐️ Invest your energy into building a rapport with your clients- build up your relationship currency so there’s something to make withdrawals from when need be.

⭐️ Read blogs, watch TED talks, and listen to podcasts that inspire and invigorate you; that help you to step back and see the big picture. Read fiction too, and escape!

A is for Action.

⭐️ Don’t wait for things to get on top of you before you take action. Check your emails often, action them swiftly, and delete those that are no longer relevant straight away.

⭐️ Eat that frog. Do the biggest and hardest things first. The things that will have the biggest impact and get the biggest bang for your buck.

⭐️ Don’t stew on things and let them eat away at you. Act on any niggling concerns as you feel them. Have that conversation with the colleague that you disagree with. Deal with that issue that’s fresh in your mind. Don’t let it fester. If for some reason you can’t deal with them at that exact moment, write them down so that you can deal with them ASAP.

⭐️ After you action items, let them go. Don’t buy into the guilt of thinking what you’ve done is not enough. For now, it is. Keep in mind that it’s normal for people to have more regret for the things they didn’t do than for the things they did. So just start by doing something.

B is for Boundaries.

⭐️ Build emotional boundaries between your personal life and your work life. Keep things professional.

⭐️ Stay back at work for as long as you can, to complete as much as you can, so that when you get home, it’s time for downtime. If you’re working from home, do your work and then go to another room. Create separation. And only respond for work emails during work hours.

⭐️ Don’t take things personally. Fortify yourself against the negativity of others.

C is for compassion, for creativity and for collaboration.

⭐️ Be compassionate towards yourself, as much as you are towards your colleagues, clients, friends and family. Do your best, and love yourself for what you do.

⭐️ Enjoy being innovative and finding new things for yourself and for your clients.

⭐️ Share the load with your workmates. Delegate fairly. Work as a team.

So, next time you find yourself struggling, remember the DRABC.

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