Regardless of whether you’ve been a headteacher for 20 years or you’re just starting in your new role – burnout can affect anyone. With expectations and pressures rising, being a headteacher does not come without its challenges.
Being the head of any school requires limitless levels of energy – which can quickly become draining – both physically and mentally. So we’ve gathered some top tips to help you overcome and manage headteacher burnout.
Image source: Unsplash.com
Reassess your open-door policy
As with any new role, in the first few months, you’re keen to make a great impression – but adopting an open-door policy can leave you feeling exhausted very quickly. Leaving your door open to everyone means you’re constantly distracted, and you end up dropping any task to deal with every parental, staff and student issue.
Re-thinking your open-door policy can mean you’re able to focus on your needs first. Although this might seem selfish, just think of it this way – as a result of allowing yourself some time to think with your door closed can mean you’re able to perform your headteacher responsibilities less stressed and more focused – this means everyone wins.
Find a support system
Becoming head of your school can bring with it feelings of isolation when it comes to talking through problems and issues within your job role. Having a network of supportive friends or seeking help from a coach or mentor can help you work through any stress and anxiety you feel about your position and its duties.
Headteacher at Woodlands Primary School, Dr Victoria Carr, says new headteachers should seek a coaching programme or a network:
“I think those new to headship should be offered a comprehensive coaching programme as part of a national retention and professional development programme. They should be allowed to seek a coach with whom they feel comfortable so that they can explore issues they face in a safe environment. As a headteacher, to avoid burnout and to nurture good mental health, a couple of strategies that massively help me are: dedicated time each week for exercise (preferably to music!), doing something completely outside the box (in my case it’s the Army reserves) and being in the outdoors.”
You mustn’t unnecessarily pile your plate high when it comes to tasks. As a headteacher, it’s essential you confidently manage all aspects of your school, but that doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. Take the time to work through your daily tasks, offloading some items to other staff members can help alleviate the weight of stress off your shoulders.
Make time for yourself
Work mustn’t take over your life. If you don’t have hobbies or activities you enjoy doing outside of school, this can make a school problem seem even more dramatic when you return home. If your work is your life, all you do is sit and dwell on your work problems.
Go out and find a hobby or an exercise that consumes you and makes the stress dissipate. Just like Dr Victoria Carr eludes to above, it’s crucial to find a hobby or an interest that works for you. Take time out to understand what it is you like to do in your spare time – it’s important for your wellbeing.
If you want to save yourself time and effort – and the rest of your staff members – transitioning to a school app can help you save precious time. Instead of sending letters and chasing parents, you can manage all communication electronically – tracking opens, resending letters and consent forms to parents who are yet to respond.
Why not give our 30-day free trial a whirl? What have you got to lose? Sign up for the trial today