From my last blog article on Lessons from Being a School Administrator Part 3, you should have had an inkling that I am a workaholic. And you’re so right! I am a die-hard workaholic and this is not a very good title to have as a school administrator. And this brings me to a very important subject that is usually avoided by school administrators- the importance of self care.
No one needs to tell me now that I need to build in some self care and work-life balance into my schedule.
In my zeal and passion as a school administrator, I always thought I could save the world by saving my organisations I worked for. I remember working for two years at a stretch without any break or holiday to be sure everything was fine, and targets were met in one of the schools where I served as the administrator.
But you know what? The problems never ended. There were more and more issues that needed attention, and at the end of these I ended up looking like Grandma Polimpo. Plus my health paid for it and I broke down. At this point, I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me that I needed a break. So, I booked the next trip out of the country and rested for two full weeks without interruption from school and office work; and this really helped to get me somewhat refreshed until I was back to face work again.
What am I trying to tell you?
My advice to you, dear administrator. Know when you need a break and do not in any way pretend about it or feel guilty about taking a much-deserved rest. And apart from resting, learn to include a leisure activity into your schedule. Detach whenever you can no matter how hard this might be for you.
The fact is, no matter how passionate you are about educating children and performing your managerial duties, you need time off, my dear! Include reading a romance novel, a comic or watching movies into your plans. On my last job, I recall a few times when I checked out of the house into a hotel for weekends, with my favourite novel or motivational book. I’d go to church from there and go back feeling refreshed and ready to work with gusto again.
You need to watch out for the signs of stress.The warning signs may be persistent headaches and migraines or just that uncomfortable feeling in your body that stays with you for an entire week no matter how hard you try to shake it off. You’re putting your own health and well being as your effectiveness and that of your team, at risk if you do not learn to dis-stress yourself.
Try to make your home as homely as possible and a place you look forward to going back home after work everyday.One of my favourite places is usually my bathroom. I try to make it so comfy I can relax to read a book while I am attending nature's calls. Have your favorite spot where you can relax- your haven. And have the time to eat healthy and good meals. It’s absolutely important. Good music helps, too. Just do you and what works for you.
I journal a lot, I read good music or find the time to search the internet for an exotic meal to prepare so that even the meals can feel and taste different, and away from the monotony of it all.
I really hope this helps you to know that you need time to relax and breathe fresh air, away from work.
See you in the next episode.
Let’s hear your view about this. How have you maintained work-life balance as a manager or administrator? What has worked for you? Let’s learn from you, too.
Nancy Ekpezu is a professional administrator,a management consultant and a life coach. You can book a coaching appointment with her at www.nancyekpezu.com , or at www.calendly.com/nancyekpezu.
She’s a coach for school administrators and leaders, and also leads individuals on their personal development journey as she keeps growing. She’s been a school administrator in four reputable schools across various cities in Nigeria.