Research-Based Tips for School Leader Well-Being
Personal well-being is fundamental for creating a healthy life full of happiness and satisfaction. In fact, well-being is so important the United Nations made promoting stronger health and well-being one of its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
In modern times, the world can sometimes feel too demanding. The recent year has turned everything upside-down and managing distance learning and ensuring students’ success has become even more stressful.
Educators were among those who were battling worldwide pandemic in their unique ways ensuring the bright future of the rising generation. Having enough stamina to carry out this big responsibility is a hard task.
Here is a list of research-based tips for school leaders well-being to help you relieve stress and improve focus:
Try Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (‘MBSR’)
MBSR is a program designed to develop mindfulness with a non-reactive and non-judgmental way of experiencing thoughts, sensations, and emotions in the present. MBSR was developed in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and often includes weekly sessions and one all-day session.
Sessions involve body scanning, focusing on breathing, physical exercises like yoga, and practicing full awareness during regular everyday activities. As patients do these activities in groups, they’re encouraged to reflect and share what they feel. Research and meta-analysis by Michael de Vibe in 2015 has shown that MBSR has a positive effect on stress relief.
Have you heard people say that whenever they’re stressed out, they hit the gym? Bonita C. Long showed in her Effects of exercise training on anxiety: A meta-analysis study that exercise can have a moderate effect on anxiety and help you manage stress. Research also shows that exercise is even more beneficial for those who have a stressful lifestyle.
If you exercise regularly, keep doing it! If you don’t, find out what works for you. The daily recommended 30-minutes of exercise can be as simple as walking, biking, or jogging. If you feel like you are capable of more, try weightlifting, yoga, stretching, or core workouts. The good thing about exercising is that there are many ways to do it. Check out some exercise ideas as well as their benefits here.
Remember physical well-being is personal because everyone’s body is different. Try different exercises and techniques to see what works best for you.
Get Enough Sleep
Having enough sleep has a strong impact on cognitive tasks and an even stronger effect on mood. Researcher June J. Pitcher suggested in her Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Performance: A Meta-Analysis study that “sleep-deprived subjects reported mood ratings that were over 3 standard deviations worse than those of non-sleep deprived subjects.”
Education is highly dependent on cognitive skills of acquiring new information, processing it into knowledge, and storing it for future use, so it is essential for school administration health to have enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Some of the most effective ways to get better sleep include:
- Reducing blue light from electronic devices (See study)
- Having a regular sleep and wake schedule (See study)
- Not eating late in the evening (See study)
- Working out regularly (See study)
- Creating a bedroom environment that eliminates external noise and light (See study)
Explore Progressive Relaxation
Gian Mauro Manzoni in his Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis study showed progressive relaxation relieves anxiety and stress by relaxing each group of muscles as you breathe in and out.
Because sessions are about 15 minutes long, Manzoni said you can use this technique anywhere and anytime: at home after a long workday or on breaks during work hours.
Practicing this method for a few weeks can reduce stress, improve sleep and the ability to focus. Check out this easy guide to practice progressive relaxation at home.
Well-being is the first step on the road to success in every part of your life and your career. As an education professional, your well-being ensures the creation of a positive classroom environment where all students can become successful. Your well-being can also improve relationships between colleagues, and open new opportunities.
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