In the first of a new monthly series on staying healthy and well, we look at how we can all add some self-care into our lives.

At the Tutor Trust our priority is delivering high quality tutoring to some of the North’s most disadvantaged pupils.  To do that we not only support our tutors with the right resources and ongoing training, we also support their health too.

Our recent Self-Care Training session gave tutors an insight into how they can support their own mental health, which in turn enables them to deliver at their best.  Place2Be, one of our partner charities and a specialist in raising mental health awareness in schools, delivered the session, which focussed on the importance of self-care. It was full of practical tips on how we can build this aspect of wellbeing into our daily lives without it feeling like another item on the to do list.

The event formed part of our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme that we run throughout the year to provide our tutors with additional support so that they can tutor at their best. Whereas much of the CPD content focuses on skills closely associated with tutoring – such as behaviour management and lesson planning – sessions such as Self-Care Training take a more holistic approach that reflects the reality of being a tutor. By learning tips to look after their own wellbeing from an experienced trainer, our tutors are equipped with skills to ensure they are in the best possible place to support their tutees’ needs.

The training was very successful, with 100% of tutors rating it ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. When asked to name one key thing they had taken away from the session, the attendees offered some helpful advice:

  • ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, stay positive, be proud of what you’ve done and are doing.’
  • ‘Self-care isn’t a prescribed list of activities but is in fact completely different from person to person. Identifying what is important/works for you will help to bring balance to your life and prevent burnout.’
  • ‘It’s important to integrate self-care into your daily routine, as opposed to it being something you do now and then or when you have enough time – it shouldn’t be another thing on your to do list.’
  • ‘Self-care is so important so when tutoring you give the best of yourself not what’s left of yourself.’

And Place2Be’s top self-care tips that we could all implement in our lives? Trainer Bernadette advises that we focus on five key areas:

  1. Diet, exercise and sleep are central to your wellbeing. Small, simple changes to improve self-care in these areas can act as preventative health measures for physical and mental health.
  2. Create a daily routine that integrates self-care. It is easier to build new habits if you add them into already existing routines. For example, you could do some stretching each morning before you eat your breakfast.
  3. Practise gratitude. This involves focussing on the small things in life to help develop a glass half-full as opposed to a glass half-empty attitude. For example, you could list three things you are grateful for each day.
  4. Avoid over-exposure to anxiety-provoking news. Whilst it may be tempting to spend lots of time scrolling through information about what is going on in the world, this is not always good for your wellbeing. You could instead schedule times into your day where you check the news and avoid it at other times.
  5. Stay connected with friends and family. We all need social support, so it is important to take the time to connect with others. Socialising may be more difficult during the lockdown, but technology allows us to stay connected even when we cannot physically be with people.

**We’ll be repeating this session soon – tutors please keep an eye on Thinqi for more details.**