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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Bethune

Why Teachers Need to Rethink Rest

In our latest vlog, we chat with Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist, and best-selling author, about the key concepts in her recent book, Rest to Reset. We ask some big questions about why educators must redefine their relationship with rest and how this can be achieved in a time-poor profession. We also talk to Suzy about the impact of the menopause on the profession and how educators can achieve balance through this period of life.

Why do we need to redefine our concept of rest?

Part 1 of Suzy’s Rest to Reset is dedicated to the exercise of redefining the concept of rest. From acknowledging our personal and social baggage around rest to broadening our understanding of what the act of resting can look like for us, Suzy encourages her readers to take the time and space to challenge their own assumptions and start to see rest from a different perspective.

So, how can this exercise help educators overcome the ‘teachers’ guilt’ that permeates the profession and so often prohibits them from taking a step back to look after their physical and mental wellbeing, particularly during term time?

What are the 8 pillars of rest?

When we think of the concept of rest, our minds might typically turn towards stillness – taking a break, having a lie down, booking a spa weekend, even! This is what is known as passive rest. But what if what we actually need is stimulation after a day of monotony or movement to expel excess energy.

Suzy’s 8 Pillars of Rest is a practical tool designed to help broaden our idea of what could bring us back to balance. In this clip she takes us through the pillars in more detail and how they are meant to be applied.

How can we tell what we need in the moment to find balance?

During moments of imbalance, overwhelm or exhaustion, knowing what restorative action you need can be extremely difficult. This is one of the reasons the 8 Pillars of Rest is so helpful in those moments.

In this clip Suzy takes us through some additional practical ideas to help with this process of really understanding our needs in the moment.

What tools can you suggest for teachers who might be experiencing workplace anxiety?

We know that in teaching, anxiety is prevalent. The 2022 Teacher Wellbeing Index showed that 44% of educators experienced symptoms of anxiety due to work. This is significantly above the national average which sits at 37%.

Here, Suzy gives some short, practical exercises to use in the moment if you’re feeling anxious.

What can educators do if they are experiencing peri/menopause symptoms?

According to the latest government statistics, the majority of teaching staff in the UK falls firmly within the peri or menopausal window - 76% of teachers are female with 47% aged 40 – 60 years.

When we pair the highly stressful, time-poor environment of teaching with some of the symptoms of peri/menopause such as anxiety, low mood, lack of sleep, to name a few, it becomes clear that supporting educators through this time in their life is an imperative for the sake of their mental and physical health, as well as for the profession at large.

What can teachers and school staff do to help themselves through this time?

(If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of peri menopause or menopause, we highly recommend following Dr Fionnuala Barton aka The Menopause Medic, a women's health and menopause specialist.)

Portrait photograph of Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist and best-selling author

Suzy Reading is a chartered Psychologist, yoga teacher and best-selling author on the topic of wellbeing. She is also an Instagram wellbeing guru with an incredible following who appreciate her down-to-earth, practical approach to ‘self-care’. Follow her here.

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