What Might Happen If You Said, 'No' More To Others?
It's very tempting to say, 'Yes!' to various opportunities, social events and offers to help others. But if it ends up making you feel overwhelmed, you've got to learn the art of saying, 'No'.
Hello, anxiety, my old friend
I’ve had a lovely summer so far. Lots of relaxing with my family. A great holiday on the south coast enjoying the tropical weather. I’ve even got a tan! But as I edge towards the last week of the summer holidays I can feel things starting to change. I’m having the odd work-related anxiety dream (one where I was frantically
trying to book a table in a restaurant for 30 people but they wouldn't confirm my booking and I’m worried my guests will starve!), and I’m starting to wake up in the middle of the night (mainly thanks to our 5-month old) and then I struggle to get back to sleep. When I stop to examine why I’m starting to feel a bit anxious, obviously, going back to school is near the top of the list but, on reflection, the truth is I’ve taken on far too much right now. I’ve got several blogs to write for various people (including this one), I’m in the middle of trying to organise my book launch, I’m planning a talk I’m giving at #BrewEdBrighton shortly, I’m planning the INSET days (yes, days!!) I’ve got to deliver on the first days back and I’m trying to edit clips from my latest vlog with Dr Emma Kell. Quite frankly, I’m feeling swamped!
Look for the signs
I hear it quite a lot from people that give great advice on the topic of wellbeing – that they find it very easy to give the advice but much harder to follow it. But one thing that I have gotten good at since I really started to prioritise my wellbeing in and out of school is learning to spots the signs that I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Broken sleep, tiredness, loss of appetite, ruminating thoughts and irritability with the people closest to me are my tell-tale signs that something needs to give. The first two may just be the side-affect of being a dad to two boys under the age of three! But when the stressed-out signs start accumulating, I know I need to do something different.
As soon, as I’ve realised I’m feeling stressed I look for things that I can say, ‘No’ to. It might be work deadlines that I try and push back on. It’s sometimes plans on the weekends when they’re looking a bit too
full on. Basically, I look at what I’ve got lined up to do and I ditch anything that I find too depleting. The next thing I do is to choose to do things that I know will nourish me and give me energy. My go to activities are long walks outside in nature (did you know 'forest bathing' is prescribed in Japan to treat anxiety and depression?), finding a few minutes each day to meditate, taking my eldest to the park for a kickabout, chatting to my wife and simply letting her know I’m feeling a bit strung out, and cooking a tasty meal. I don’t have to do all of them to feel better. Often one of these activities is enough to restore a sense of balance and widen my perspective again. As soon as I feel a bit more energised, I then find I’m much more able to chip away at my to-do list.
I’ll be hosting Day 4 of #Slowchat6 on Thursday 30th August starting from about 7am (I'll be up early with my boys so feel free to join me!). It happens to be the same day that I’ve agreed to help my parents move house. I know, I know! I’ve done it again and taken too much on.
So, with that in mind, the questions that I’d like to explore on the day are:
· In what ways do you find yourself taking on too much and trying to please too many people?
· How can we get the balance right between offering to help others but also looking after ourselves?
· What might happen if you said, ‘No’ more to others?
At #PedagooHampshire18, I will be sharing some of the research and ideas from my book, Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom. I’ll explore how teachers can weave wellbeing into their teaching day so that they, and their class, get to benefit. I’m really looking forward to it!
By then, I may even have learned the art of saying ‘No’!