Good Habits – Do You Have Them?

A guest post from @lilliputplay

I recently read the research that has been published about diet drinks increasing the risk of strokes, heart disease etc. Then a few hours later on Instagram a fitness fanatic (as he refers to himself) announces that based on the research he wasn’t going to drink them anymore! UMMMMM I wondered – I don’t think as a personal trainer he has particularly good habits if he was already drinking so many of them?

This got me thinking. We live in a culture where we do things without a great deal of attention to why we do them and what the impact of them is. We go to work, grab a sandwich, eat as we work. Later the same day we whack some frozen food in the oven when we get home and mark books in front of the TV (probably with some sort of treat), then generally sleep badly.

This man for example thinks because he has muscles and works out that whatever he is eating and drinking will not have an effect on him. Now he is currently promoting himself as a personal trainer – I can only look at him and think how society has shaped him. I don’t want to rant about him for too long instead I want to focus on developing good habits for mental health in teacherholics.

As a teacher who has taught a lot in different schools the most common personal theme for conversation in the staff room I come across is weight! Nearly every teacher I worked with in the UK was on some sort of health kick, joined slimming world or weight watchers and moaned about the amount of sweets etc that were in school. Just writing this makes me smile as they would all say ‘If I only I had more time!’ They would speak about how they only have time in the holiday to eat well and work out as they just work all the time. I get this, as a previous teacherholic I understand the panic of thinking I need to do this this and this. Working till 11 pm then getting in for 6.30 am. Working at lunch, working at break, work work work work.

However, now is completely different and I believe that this is because of my good habits that I have embedded in myself. Now this was not easy. I felt guilty a lot of the time and had to rationalise a lot of things in my brain and remind myself that no one had observed my teaching standard slipping, athe children’s progress slipping or their work standards slipping. In fact it was the opposite. They noticed quality improving – I felt like a complete fraud as I was working way less! I put this down to now that because as a person I was happier it made me as an employee happier. It is important also to remember when I did this I taught year 6 in an inner city school the first year of the new SATS. It wasn’t an easy class or year. But I made myself do it.

My thought process is if all you’re living for is work and the holidays – is this living? I set myself restrictions- went in at 7am and work till 6pm twice a week. Leave straight after a staff meeting. Mark at a lunchtime but leave 30 minutes to eat and chat. Not work at a weekend unless it was reports or assessment. Walk, run outside every day and go to yoga 3 times a week.  I know not everyone will be like me and like exercise. Whilst I encourage everyone to walk outside whatever the weather I know not everyone will prioritise that.

One of my very good friends on my recent visit home to England was telling me about these very stresses. She isn’t particularly into exercise so I asked her about maybe doinganinterior design course as she loves that. She replied saying she didn’t have the time and I said if you can’t find one hour for yourself a day what are you working for? Are you living? Blunt, I know but true. If we can all find time to stalk people on social media, watch t.v etc, how can we not find time to do a course to develop our skills or indulge in a pleasure? By the way if social media is your thing, just take this out of the hour a day and recognise that in that time you are doing something that is just for you.


Now in the present moment, for me, I recognise my walk to and from work is my time, my yoga class, which I now go to daily is completely for me. Also for the first ten minutes that I arrive in my classroom and I’m drinking my coffee and flicking through the Daily Mail Showbiz App I’m doing things for myself to make me happy. Life will never be perfect – there will always be stresses, upset and sometimes anger. But life should be meaningful and should not be lost to work and it’s down to yourself to make it that. Don’t look back and regret the teacherholic life and realise you missed all the living.

Also… maybe cut out the fizzy drinks..?

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog and is reproduced here by kind permission.

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