School Business Managers need resilience in their armour and we write a lot about it. The impact it has on us, how we can use it to support our day-to-day and how we can nurture the skills required. But we all know there is a limit.
I now recognise that I recently hit mine.
The start of 2019 has been a challenge. Nothing insurmountable (or so I thought), keep going, keep pushing, you’ll get through it (I told myself).
Three weeks ago I caught one of the many bugs going about.
I spent the weekend in bed but Monday was an important day and I was due to present something I’d been working on for months. Tuesday involved a meeting, the subject of which I was invested in. Wednesday had meetings that to pull out of would have let other people down. Thursday had a meeting in the diary that I wanted to go to, and on Friday I was due to spend the day offering support to someone else.
I should have stopped that week but, of course, I didn’t.
I spent the following weekend in bed again, trying to recover. By this time the bugs presenting symptoms had passed but I just felt totally exhausted and washed out. I dragged myself through the next week, not feeling very productive but getting through each day, fighting my way through to the half term break.
I had four days off at the beginning of the holiday (most of which I spent asleep), worked two days and I’ve now got three days to reflect on the impact (and stupidity) of my actions.
The exhaustion has left me feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, unconfident and decidedly grumpy! Past experience tells me that I can get through this but I’m cross that I have brought it on myself just because I refused to stop when my body told me to.
So, as much to remind myself as anything, how will I get through this?
- By being patient (and gentle) with myself next week. Breaking myself back into my working rhythm and not getting too hung up on the nitty-gritty to start with.
- By taking one task at a time and each day at a time.
- By not overfilling my diary so that I have time to draw a breath, have some lunch and plan my time.
- By building back my confidence, taking time to talk to colleagues about their to-do lists and taking another look at the big picture (ie the learning that is happening around me).
- By going home on time.
- By getting outside for a bit of fresh air, exercise and sunlight.
- By eating properly (something I’ve let slip in 2019 and which has a massive effect on my overall emotional and physical wellbeing).
- By getting enough (and good) sleep.
Of course, I have been here before and I know I can claw back my usual positivity and energy but I have to accept that it is going to take a while this time. I’ve neglected my own wellbeing and I’m paying the price now.
Our role requires us to be resilient and the higher levels we have the more able we are to support everyone else in our school, but we mustn’t take our levels of resilience for granted because the as the old proverb states – the bigger they are, the harder they fall!
Look after you.