Instead of removing
food groups from your diet as a
New Year’s Resolution,
prioritize something more important:
It’s the fourth day of 2022… How is your New Year’s resolution going so far? For those who vowed to lose weight this year but decided to “start on Monday” instead of Saturday, January 1, that resolution is likely already broken! This year, I propose we in School Safety make a new resolution that doesn’t involve eliminating sweets or carbs from our diets, working longer hours, or taking even more work home with us than we normally do. 2022 should be the year we prioritize ourselves and our own wellbeing.
“But Gary, in case you haven’t heard, there is a global pandemic that is forcing me to do even more work than listed in my job description. How can I possibly afford to put myself first?” I hear you loud and clear; however, this is exactly why our mental health must be a priority. How can we possibly focus on the crucial jobs with which we are tasked when we are pulled in a million different directions?
There’s a reason that airlines train their flight attendants to instruct passengers to don their own oxygen masks in the event of an emergency before helping others: The best way to help others is to help yourself first. This logic holds especially true in our jobs that are focused on preventing acts of violence within our schools and keeping our students and staff safe every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has added even more stress to our jobs. Now, on top of preventing physical acts of violence, we are forced to keep up with ever-changing mask / vaccine / testing requirements, deal with angry parents, social-distance to keep our students learning in-person, and cover co-workers’ jobs while they are out sick. The stress is overwhelming and exhausting, and the burn-out is real; however, those of us in the School Safety community don’t have the luxury of having a mentally “off-day” from stress. Mistakes can be made and warning signs can be missed when we are stressed and burnt-out. Because of this, you must grab your own oxygen mask and throw it on every single day before you can be mentally capable of protecting your students and staff. You simply cannot help your school if you are running out of oxygen yourself.
This year, instead of making resolutions that fall by the wayside before the second month of the year, make your mental wellbeing a priority. I enjoy a long bike ride with my wife, cooking dinner with my grandchildren, and being a resource to my School Safety colleagues, and my New Year’s resolution is to do more of these activities as a way to mentally recharge.
How do you plan to put yourself first in 2022?