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Below is a transcript of Nina's great advice


“Hello everybody!

I'm Nina Jackson from Independent Thinking and I’m going to consider how as a leader, I can manage my own well-being, as well as the well-being of my staff, during these challenging times?

First, I’d like you to consider that you cannot be leading your staff unless you are feeling well.

And by being well, I’d like you to think about some of these steps during your daily challenges that you may be meeting, maybe when you're receiving an email from one of the governments or maybe some issues from parents and teachers with regards to online learning and, also ensuring the safety of all the children that you're working with.

Self-Care Is Crucial

At this time, self-care is absolutely crucial. When I talk about self-care with regards to you as a leader, as well as your staff, there’s a few things that I’d like to share with you.

First, consider your physical care, your mental and emotional care as well as the care of your family and getting the work-life balance right.

Care to Step Outside?

With regards to physical self-care, take a moment every day to embrace the outside environment that we have at our doorsteps, whether it's just literally going out and embracing the fact that you've got sunshine, a bit of rain or snow - look around you and take in the wonderful sensations that are around you, from the sounds that you can hear to the actual aromas.

Get your sleeping habits right, do not stay up too late watching copious amounts of Netflix and stop checking your emails or using your digital device.

Make sure that you have regular sleeping habits because sleep is an amazing tool for great well-being.

‘…Grab a Wooden Chair’

Get some exercise!

If you cannot go outside then walk around your house, use a wall and do some simple jump ups, maybe even have an online exercise session with your staff and have a little emotional and physical check-in - not just with yourself but with your staff in some online meetings.

There’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of chair dancing or lifting your arms up and down, or literally just walking around your living room maybe doing 500 steps every hour or so.

Look at the self-care with regards to your emotional well-being, look at your well-being curve - are you thriving or you feeling unwell?

What are the tools that you can put into place for yourself so that you're feeling focused?

A Dose of Mind Medicine

You may even want to embrace a simple idea such as mind medicine. What do I mean by mind medicine?

It’s the tools that simply can work for you on a daily basis - whether it's taking a moment to listen to some relaxation music, doing some simple mindfulness techniques or even make an appointment with yourself in your daily diary by taking 10 minutes here and there.

Make that appointment with yourself and tell people that you're in a meeting and then you're not available. They really are not going to ask you to come out of that meeting and that's something that you can share with your staff too.

Checking In, Not Out

If you're not well, you cannot manage the school, the community, the online world or your staff - recognize your accomplishments through daily self-gratification.

You can write it down if you want to or you can just simply every hour think of the amazing things that you've accomplished, like having a phone call with a parent and making them feel great about the home-schooling or even maybe checking in with a member of staff and, even better if you check in with yourself!

Ask yourself how am I really feeling today?

Take a Moment

Part of mind medicine as well is looking at intervention and prevention tools.

If you know that you are getting stressed as a leader or some of your staff are, look at what some of those prevention tools may be - it could be introducing some sensory object, it might even be simply talking to somebody or just sitting and taking a moment.

There’s nothing like a little bit of quiet time. Quiet time doesn't have to be pause or silence, but it could be maybe embracing yourself on a simple application online such as headspace or calm, or silent cloud - it’s entirely up to you.

If you had a headache, you'd be reaching for a paracetamol or an ibuprofen because you know that that may work for you, but as part of your mind medicine prescription, your tools, think about some of the preventative tools that you can put into place.

Balance Starts With You

Let’s also think about management and workload. Consider simple ways that you can check in with your staff, set up a Google ‘wakelet’ board where you can share ideas, or they can tap in with you.

Maybe have a daily five-minute meeting just to see how people are doing? Use your staff to also be able to check in with you and get that balance right between work and home, even though some of you may be remotely working from home.

Also, being in school as the leader and checking in on your staff and looking at the emails and answering the calls and checking.

I could go on and on and on, but finding the balance is key and it has to start with you.

Social Zooms

There are no trophies or medals left in the cabinet for you or any other teacher at this point, the priority is that you have to look after yourself, value the importance of social time whether it is checking in with somebody via a phone call or sending a text or maybe even that other Zoom session or that other team session, but actually it's a social one rather than work.

Psychologically you really need to be making time for yourself; physically you need to be looking after your body because once you look after your body from a physical sense that will also help with the emotional sense too.

Crucially, at this time, there will be severe challenges that you are going to face.

Please put them into context.

Switch Off to Switch Off

Turn off your notifications on your digital devices.

There will be a variety of ways that you know that work for you and there will be a variety of ways that your staff will know what work for them too but, the importance is the check-in, check up on and the checkout, checking with yourself, checking with staff.

‘I’m Fine. Not’

If somebody is saying to you “Yeah, I’m fine”, that isn't really fine, is it? If they say “Yeah, I’m absolutely fine” then listen to the way that somebody is reacting to you. Listen to the way that you are reacting to yourself too. You know a superpower.

Recently psychologists have discovered that if we talk to ourselves, it's a really good positive thing so I’m going to say:

“Hey Nina, how's it going today? How are you feeling?”

“Well, do you know what? Actually, I’m feeling quite tip-top today because I’ve just had a great online session with some primary teachers, I’ve answered some emails, I’ve responded to a phone call but I’ve just got an appointment with myself coming up so I’m going to take that 10 minutes for me”.

Rocket Science

So, these are very simple ideas, and they may not be rocket science, but what I do want you to do is to embrace them and make them real.

We must feed our bodies with energy, with water, with food so why not feed your mind and your body with physical exercise and emotional well-being so that you can be fully equipped to be the amazing leader that you are and look after yourself and, your staff too as well as the children and your community.

I'd like to finish this by saying a massive thank you, to you, your staff, your community, parents, and children for all that you're doing for each other right now look after yourselves. See you soon.”

You can check out all the other 'tracks' on our CPD Jukebox by clicking here.

To find out more about booking Nina Jackson for your school, college or organisation call us on 01267 211432 or drop us an email on

About the author

Nina Jackson

Nina is a teacher, writer and speaker very much in demand for her work in teaching and learning, SEND, creativity, learning technologies and, increasingly, well-being and emotional health for children and their teachers. She is the author of Of Teaching, Learning and Sherbet Lemons.

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