Wellbeing: 9 ways to avoid illness before Christmas

No one wants to succumb to illness just as term ends. Here Oli Ryan offers some wellbeing tips to help you stay healthy

Oli Ryan

Teacher wellbeing: Nine tips to help teachers stay health in the run-up to Christmas

Winter bugs are flying around, and staff and pupils are worn out.

The end of the autumn term is challenging for everyone in school, but it's especially tough for those new to teaching.

Teacher wellbeing tips

Here are some tips for staying healthy and happy during the last few hectic, exhausting days of term.

1. Take some me-time

Plan for a few minutes of selfish, non-teaching-related me-time. 

Take a minute or two to focus on your breathing and visualise the day ahead, before the kids arrive in the morning. Repeat this as required at morning and lunch break. You’ll feel better for it, and your kids will, too.

2. Drink a lot (no, not that kind of drinking)

Be strict with your water intake. Aim for a minimum of one litre a day (coffee and tea don't count). This will keep your brain functioning at its peak, and make you feel less sluggish.

3. Power nap 

We know that some of us reach for the wine to help us relax and unwind when we get home, but how about a quick nap instead

Just so long as it's not for too long, you'll feel the benefits for the rest of the evening.

4. Meditate 

Take a few minutes to meditate, or just try to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. 

Five minutes a day of focusing purely on breathing can help to reduce stress. Stick your earphones in on the train, or take five minutes before you leave the house.

5. Watch out for germs

This one's good for you and your class: ensure that children are washing their hands, covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, using tissues (and actually throwing them away). 

Not only will you avoid the spread of germs before the Christmas holidays, but it will make life much more pleasant for everyone during the winter months.

6. Flu jabs are not just for the elderly

If you haven’t had yours, it’s cheap, quick and easy to get one done. Some primary schools actually organise flu jabs with their local GP, and will even help arrange cover for you to go for your jab during school hours.

Check out the NHS website’s page on flu vaccinations for more information.

7. Singers look after their voices; teachers should as well

Work with smaller groups in class, to avoid having to raise your voice too often.

Try to avoid clearing your throat constantly if you have a tickle. Water should help.

Don’t go into work if you really don’t feel up to it. We know you have a responsibility to teach your class, but if you aren’t feeling great it’s better that you rest up and get better without making it worse.

8. Clean up the classroom

Although your classroom may get a good once-over during the week, there will still be piles of clutter, paper and general messiness that have been gathering ever since term began.

Throw away grubby paper and card resources, and wipe them down anything laminated.

Chuck washable resources like Lego or Multifix bricks in the dishwasher. They'll be fine as long as it's not a really hot wash.

And enlist the help of your class. This isn’t just free labour, but a learning opportunity about collective responsibility for shared spaces.

Clean your desk, keyboard and mouse – they're probably filthy.

9. Get rid of bad smells

Don't forget to send children home with every single one of those rank PE kits and leaky lunch boxes.

Oli Ryan is a former primary school teacher, now working as a writer and resource creator at PlanBee. He tweets as @planbeeoli

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