We have chosen a rewarding, but challenging profession. There are days I come home & my brain is whirling as I try to figure out how to best help a student. Other days, I come home eager to share the highlights of my day. Or, I’m exhausted because students needed a lot more of my emotional energy than I had thought. Or, it seemed like there was more computer issues to solve than brain cells available to figure out. Or, maybe it was an awesome day where everything went right teaching & business-wise … that started 16 – 18 hours earlier, but didn’t include time for exercise or down time.
These are the times I am SO thankful for my support system: my husband, my parents & my in-laws. These are the people that have listened as I needed to talk things out, set me straight when I was wrong, & jumped in to help when I couldn’t do it on my own.
One of the best ways of ensuring longevity as an educator (& business owner) is to have a strong support system in place.
What is a support system?
According to Merriam-Webster, the medical definition of a support system, is “a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support”. In other words, a group of people who have your back.
A support system is different for each of us & can change for different stages of our lives. When I lived in Mexico, the friends I made there quickly became my family away from home. I could call my parents, but it would have taken them over 12 hours (with check-in & customs). So, if I needed support right then & there … it was my friends & now husband. When the twins were babies, the play group that I went to was an invaluable source of support that helped me thrive as a stay-at-home mom (rather than wishing I was back at work).
Your support system may include, in no particular order:
- spouse or significant other
- family (parents, siblings, etc.)
- friends who have become family
- religious group
- hobby groups
- support groups or therapy
Why would I need a support system?
Because we can’t do it alone.
We have chosen to be in an industry where we serve others. And, it can be oh-so-easy to put everyone else ahead of our own health & needs.
I’ve learnt this the hard way … multiple times. Now I guard that time with my support system & the time for myself. I refuse to (regularly) give up that time to my business or my clients because I know that as much as my clients love me as a teacher, they won’t necessarily be there in the long-term if I am unable to provide the service they have hired me for.
A goal for this summer
Summer tends to be a time of relaxed schedules & stepping back a bit. While you may be prepping for the fall, take time for yourself & your support system.
Try setting in the routines, whether they be exercise, meditation, hobbies, etc., so they are already in place once the school year begins again. The hardest part is starting these good habits. Why not start them at a time when you have the energy to dedicate to them?
Not only do we need to recharge, but our support system needs to feel more support from us. It’s a 2-way street that builds up emotional goodwill. During the school year, we probably need emotional support, extra help during those busy times, & a sounding board. In our less busy times, we need to provide that for those in our support system.
If you don’t have a support system in your life, look at the people in your life that could fill that role. Perhaps there is someone who has offered help in the past or is a good listener. Take time this summer to build those relationships. Or, perhaps there is a group that you are interested in joining. Chances are that you will meet people in the group that may naturally end up becoming part of your support system over time.
I encourage you to invest in your support system this summer so that you have a healthy teaching year.
Who is in your support system & what do you appreciate about them? Share below!
Have a great weekend!