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22nd June 2020 - - 0 comments
The power of a morning routine by Suneta Bagri

As it’s Wellbeing Week, we asked Suneta Bagri, former headteacher, current wellbeing coach and founder of the Every Teacher Matters project to gives her advice to school staff on how to start the day off right and give your wellbeing a boost.


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My morning routine defines my day. I can't stress enough the importance of a great morning routine, as it will set you up for a successful day…everyday! 

I’ve always been a morning person.  That is when I feel I am most productive. I have got an abundance of energy and my brainpower is optimum.  Creative ideas flow and I’m feeling at my best.  I appreciate this is not the case for everyone.  Although I’ve always been an early to rise kind of person, I haven’t always been this productive or energetic.  I definitely owe it to the good routine I have in place.  It doesn’t have to take long and can be easily incorporated.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Being a morning person and early to rise is very different from having a solid morning routine in place.  Being a teacher, I have always been an early riser, I just conformed to getting up early, doing what I had to get done at home, sort out my kids, skip breakfast, rush to work, and then feel like I was trying to catch up the rest of the day. If you are a teacher… you never catch up, right?

This type of routine takes its toll on your physical and mental well-being and majorly impacts upon your productivity as a teacher.

Now, my morning routine consists of all the things that are important to me, things that I want to give time to (always things that are for me and just for me!) but previously didn’t always get the time to do. I mean as a teacher/leader when do you have spare time? 

I tried putting boundaries in place and that harboured gains in giving me a work-life balance, but it didn’t enable me to give myself the time I needed.  The time to plan “my” day – not for the children I was teaching or the staff that I was leading.  Time to plan my day. So that I didn’t get lost in the day. So that I drank water, took the time to eat well, took the time to stop and breathe.

My well-being is my responsibility.  I have found that a morning routine sets the tone for the whole day and gives me control.  As a result, I am calmer, more content, measured and most importantly… ready to accept whatever the day brings with greater levels of resilience.   

Either you run the day or the day runs you - Jim Rohn.

I know what I’d rather!

One of my goals for the beginning of this year was to get into a good morning routine in order to set myself up for the day.  I needed to work smarter, not harder, and the first step was to create good habits.  I undertook a lot of coaching and self-coaching to establish why I wanted a good morning routine and what I wanted to get out of it and then, how I was going to form the habits to become the person that achieves these goals. 

You see, having a morning routine is all good and well but the key thing is knowing what to do when you wake up to get the most out of the time.  I used to wake up early and celebrate the success that I was up at 4:30 am but didn’t always know what to do when I woke up or ended up focusing on the things that made me feel tired by the time I finished.  I also have read books which state that you should do the things that you don’t like to do, but need to do first! This didn’t work for me.  

I needed a reason to wake up and look forward to something.  I do tackle the hard tasks, early on in the day, but not straight away. I do the things that I love first! This really motivates me to get up and get moving. I’ve discovered my personal rituals which light me up and I literally cannot bear to even entertain the thought of not having “my” time in the morning. My personal rituals set me up for the day and help put me in the right mindset.  

Another great reason to create a morning ritual it is to avoid mental fatigue. We only have a certain amount of energy and willpower when we wake up each morning, and it slowly gets drained away with decisions. As teachers, we are constantly making decisions, as soon as we are on our way to work.  If you’re a leader, you’ll be planning cover, thinking about meetings you’ve got coming up.  You will have already communicated with several members of staff on your way to work.  If you are a teacher, you will be thinking about getting to the photocopier, laminating resources, getting the classroom set up, what books you need out etc etc. Having to make all those decisions early in the morning, will affect how you make decisions for the remainder of the day. 

Avoiding mental fatigue is why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same thing every day. “Knowing exactly how the first 90 minutes of my day looks like is powerful, as it helps me feel in control and non-reactive, which in turn reduces anxiety and ensures I'm more productive throughout the day.”

My morning routine is linked to my goals, daily and long term and are rooted in my broad knowledge of personal development.  As a well-being and mindset coach, I have worked with many teachers, helping them to establish a morning routine. This has positively impacted their emotional well-being, increased resilience, boosted confidence, led to higher levels of productivity and resulted in positive relationships with colleagues and students alike. 

A good morning routine adds an automatic quality to your life. You are no longer struggling to do the things that you wish you had time to do.  You are doing them, maintaining them and loving life! No more frustration. You are not struggling to get the life-work balance right, you are no longer wondering how seamless everyone else makes it look.  You are rocking it in the classroom! Stress has been replaced with fulfilment, urgency has been replaced with a leisurely pace. That is what good habits linked to your goals, do for you.

Setting goals is important, but creating the habits to reach them, is what brings about achievement and success.

Habits and goals go hand in hand.

I offer personal breakthrough programmes which can support you in getting the time, that you not only want but need to sustain the challenges of the teaching profession. Time that is essential to your well-being. Every teacher matters.

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If you would like any extra support during this tough time, feel free to get in touch with Suneta directly

 

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