Reclaim your weekend and switch off

Paul Boyd

Saturday, 22 December 2018

As a vocation, teaching can be all-consuming.  It can find its way into every corner of our life, either because we welcome it in or it eventually finds its own way!


In an ideal world, teachers should be rested, energised and ready for the day/week/term ahead. As the weeks go on, and our energy stores get depleted, finding new ways to recharge the batteries is always a good idea.

When was the last time you did something that was purely for you and had no other purpose than the thing itself? Getting lost in something that gives us pleasure and isn’t too mentally challenging can refuel our brains and our bodies, even when simply ‘resting’ doesn’t do the trick.

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Adult play is a new and exciting frontier in well-being. In a recent article for the Washington Post, psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play in California said “What all play has in common is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time and place, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.”

It is seen as both a therapeutic practice and healthy way to give our minds a gentle workout.

A few years ago, the fashion was colouring books for adults. Still popular with many people, this low investment, carefree and simple task allows people to unwind, whilst doing something expressive and fun.

If you have a hobby like this in your life, get to it! It’s not just an optional extra that you might get to one day. Make it a special part of your weekly routine.

If you don’t have such a pastime, it’s time to find one!

We’re all different, so finding what works for you is the trick. Try something, and if you don’t like it, drop it and move onto the next thing. There’s no need to be precious here.

Cooking, Lego, knitting, painting or doodling (preferably something physical) all offer a playful release from the intense rigours of the school day. If you’re in primary school, pay attention to which tasks you give to the children that you also enjoy.

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If you’re in secondary school, which subjects do you not teach that you’d like to get stuck into? I have a colleague who works as an English teacher – having spent all their day with words and meaning, they often do some simple maths quizzes online as a way of freshening their mind!

With the Christmas break coming up, we can create a little space to explore some of these simple pleasures and find ways to make time for them. Maybe you can get your partner, or your children involved or give yourself a couple of quiet hours after a family lunch to indulge in a new activity.

Whatever you do, it should leave you feeling like you’ve given you’re your brain a relaxing spa treatment; you’re rested, replenished and raring to go!

Now, go enjoy your weekend - teacher's order!


About our Community Expert

Paul Boyd

Community Expert

Paul is an actor and English teacher from Northern Ireland. Alongside his acting career working in theatre, film and television across the UK, he also teaches in primary and secondary schools throughout London.

Paul provides performance coaching to both individual clients and businesses.

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