Christmas in School… a seasonal reflection on overwhelm

Overwhelm
Burnout
Compassion fatigue
Stress
Exhaustion
Crazy

I have heard all these words in the last few weeks as I have spoken with a variety of professionals working in schools. So many children are struggling. The need is still huge… and that may or may not change anytime soon.

For those who resonate with this, then there are some good questions to ask yourself and really, slowly and honestly answer:-

  1. Why do I feel like this?
  2. What do I secretly want to do/acheive?
  3. What can I actually offer?
  4. How will I know when I have made a difference?
  5. How many children / families will I make a difference to before I consider I have done a good enough job?

For many people – especially those that really care about children, and are really good at their jobs (teacher, therapist, family support worker, mentor, senior staff, etc etc) – the sense of “I could help so many more….” which is often internalised as “I should help so many more….” is a real threat to mental health and emotional wellbeing.

This gremlin lurks at the door of our subconscious and holds hands with the ever present ‘not enough’. Sometimes it stands on the shoulders of ‘professional failure’ sometimes it giggles and whispers with ‘going to be found out’.

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I have been there on occasion in the past – I can relate. However, there is something I think that is really, really powerful in helping breakthrough the sense of inner (and sometimes outer) ‘I’m not doing enough’ that is often at the root of these feelings.

Asking yourself this question- ‘what is my part to play?’

We care. We want to change the world.
Some people want to save the world – or at least all the children in it…

Is it possible that we can save the world?
Is that our role?
Is that our remit?

 

Coming back to clarity of what each of us is called to be and do can really help. Understanding our unique purpose gives us power to know the things we are responsible for and the things we are not. We can set boundaries around our behaviour and our own gremlins and show them clearly the areas we can hold ourselves accountable in.

And we can consider the biggest story of the season – nativity-blocks the one being played out all over the country at the moment – the story that some would say is actually the one that is about starting to save the world.
The Nativity.
What would have happened if the Wise men weren’t free to travel and respond to the times because they were also trying to be inn-keepers?
What if the shepherds tried to be more pensive and inwardly reflect on things as Mary did?
What would have happened if Mary or Joseph weren’t content to just make a journey and deliver a baby but felt they should also rush over the hills to spread the news to the villages?

The story is bigger than any single one of them. They each had a unique part to play.
We still do today…

In this bleak mid-winter we can all be wise (wo)men…and….(be ok to) do our part.

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