You can’t pour out of an empty cup

Photo by Braden Barwich on Unsplash

This is a busy time of the year for educators. On top of al the professional responsibilities such as teaching students, dealing with the demands of lesson plans, assessments, Professional Learning Communities, Student Growth Objectives, Observation and the list goes on and on, it is the holiday season, winter, daylight savings time etc. Wow is that a lot to balance! So, how do we ensure that our cup is filled so we can help others?

Here are 5 things you can put into place to get you through this tough stretch:

  1. Unplug. Chances are (and the blog stats would back this up) you are reading this on you phone having been exposed to the link through social media. Although I have written extensively about the benefits of social media (here is a link to my book) there are a lot of drawbacks. The one big draw back is the impact this is having on your brain. Don’t believe it? Watch this Manoush Zomorodi talk about what technology is doing to us.
  2. Exercise. There are countless research studies and anecdotal stories about the power of exercise. If you do step one (and unplug) you could use 15 minutes that you would normally be cruising through social media to go for a walk.
  3. Go to bed at the same time (and probably a little earlier than you currently are going to bed). Getting at least 8 hours of sleep should be more than just a goal for you, it should be a requirement. When the body doesn’t get the proper rest the results can be catastrophic! Check out this research by Dr. Matther Walker.
  4. Start a Gratitude List. Every morning, upon waking, I take a few minutes to reflect on the prior day and write down 5 things that I am grateful for. This has transformed my world view and it has reprogrammed my brain to always look for the things I have rather than what I don’t have. Here are a some resources from my experience with Gratitude: School resources, personal Gratitude Practice.
  5. You are in control of how you react. I love the quote, “I didn’t cut you so don’t bleed on me.” This is particularly powerful as we deal with people on a day to day basis. You can’t control others but you can control how you react and many situations can be disarmed with a calm, kind response. Not everyone will appreciate that but then again you can’t control that.

So as you go through this holiday season with all of the added pressures and responsibilities, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Be sure to take some time for yourself and recharge your batteries. Remember… breathe 🙂

About the Author

Spike C. Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two book through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership:It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards.  Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter.

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