• Jan Baker


Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Hands up... How many of you have tried a massage whilst on holiday, but it doesn't even feature on your radar when you are home, busy and pushed for time? Why is this do you think?

For me, holidays are now a time to relax and having a massage is all part of the holiday experience, especially now as I usually get to work on everyone but me! But actually, if you do stop and think about it just a bit, surely relaxing, reviving and healing your body when you are really busy, bang in the middle of your hectic lifestyle with all the associated stresses and strains, means you probably need it more than when you're on holiday. Well I think I do, anyway! Oh and if anyone ever sees this ceramic froggy for sale anywhere, I want one!

I often wonder when stress and overwork became something of a badge of honour. At what point did relaxation and personal wellbeing only become something to plan for during a holiday? I know for me it was the fact that I just daren't stop when I was teaching. We were understaffed, I was trying to manage the delivery of three languages across a consortium of several schools, teaching young people from aged 3 to 18 as well as mentoring staff, writing and designing new specifications for teaching and personally, on top of all this, I was also responsible for getting 5 classes of teenagers through their exams. Oh the joys of the exam production line. I don't miss it a bit! In fact I remember driving to work one day listening to an advert on the radio from a local college asking, "And how do you feel now that your exams are over?" I replied out loud without even thinking ... "Knackered".....

Emotionally and physically I was wrecked. Couldn't see it at the time, and certainly didn't dare think about it at the time, but when I look back at my Facebook posts, I am actually horrified at the amount of work I was expected to get through. Holidays? What were they? And the amount of unpaid overtime I was doing amounted to my working for about £5 an hour if that. But more, I seem to be constantly ill. I've seen posts about my having cellulitis (twice), which meant hospital visits as blood infections are serious things, stones trapped in my ear canal from dehydration because of flu, making me unable to eat for days, sat in agony in school because I had to attend a meeting instead of going to the dentist for a potential abscess on a tooth, and countless doctor's appointments for horse tablets because I just couldn't afford the time to be home making myself well. Seriously, as a teacher you are expected to set cover work when you are ill, which if I'm brutally honest, few children actually bother to complete to any decent standard, and the state of your room when you go back! It's just not worth it! (All my teacher friends and ex colleagues are now nodding their heads...)

It's only recently that I found this, but oh my, I think it's so true! I like it so much, I've stuck it on the bottom of the review page just to remind me! Thank you to whoever wrote and posted it!

A change in circumstances, in the end, put a stop to my overwork with teaching. A level funding was dramatically reduced, and 13, mostly senior members of staff therefore found that their jobs had become suddenly redundant over night, in the hope that the school could change their job titles and employ someone else to do the same job on less money. Happy 50th birthday present to me - they told me on my birthday and I had to sit in parent's evening for Year-11 the whole night knowing I was going to be leaving and unable to say anything. I didn't even get to celebrate my birthday that day with my family. But such is the way of things. I am wiser now. Nobody is irreplacable. So, I came home, my mum became ill suddenly, then my daughter had a baby and the rest, as they say is history. It's so interesting don't you think that we only tend to look at our lifestyle and think about where we are going during moments of crisis?

So, wherever you are on your journey, I just want to remind you. Your wellness should not just be for holidays. Because, as the picture says, if you don't look after your wellness, mentally and physically, you will eventually be forced to make time for your illness. So, from someone who has been there, above all, press that button called "pause" now and again outside of holiday time too, please.

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