I think one of the occupational hazards of educational administration that I did not reference in my recent post is slowing down (or, rather, lack thereof). I love my job. The students, teachers, and parents in our community really are special. They come together and support each other, sometimes in the midst of very trying life circumstances. Another thing I appreciate about our community is its diversity. I work in a place that celebrates and honors differences – in colors, abilities, religion, etc. As a result, we are a community that is rich – we learn from each other.
Yet, this amazing community makes it very hard for me to slow down. I am often caught sending emails to staff and parents at midnight (or later). I never completely unplug. I feel as though my job is not a job, but a vocation – something that does stay with me at all times. I am learning to find balance, for me and my family. I am much better than I used to be and I am still growing. I have learned that I must slow down. I have started to give myself permission to not answer every email in my inbox, but instead, spend extra moments with my family or even taking time to pause and enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds me.
I have to remind myself that as I pause my levels of work productivity should actually increase – as those breaks are incredibly restorative. Slowing down is indeed counterintuitive – but it really does work and makes a huge difference.
The other important piece in my slowing down is the example I set for others, particularly my staff. It is important that I model healthy behaviors that include self-care. If my staff see me model that it is indeed okay to take a day or evening and unplug, they will begin to feel comfortable doing the same. As they take care of themselves, they have more energy to invest in our students.
Today, 22 days ’til 40, I remind myself to slow down and understand that it is a healthy choice that will make me more productive in the long run.