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Beaches and things.

Everyone has a happy place. For me, it’s somewhere near water. Streams, rivers, ideally a beach (add tropical and cocktail for true nirvana). I find water soothing to walk next to, listen to and mesmerising to watch. I can use it almost like meditation, feel myself relax when I’m watching it trickle past, swirl up and move on.

Smoothing out rough edges, rushing over dams and obstacles in it’s path, moving sand and shorelines, it has a hidden power that’s deceptive.

Lockdown stopped me getting out to my usual spots to recharge my batteries. Even after restrictions lifted I found myself conflicted as to whether I should head to the coast or wait just a little longer. Finally, the need to spend some real family time together before my eldest went back to London tipped the balance. I took a days leave and we headed off to North Norfolk for the day. It was wonderful. Ok so I worked till the household had rallied enough to leave but then the notifications were turned off, I was forbidden to discuss work and away we went. Swimming, picnic, sandcastles, ball games and a snooze in the sun did us all the world of good.

Too often I’ve noticed SBL’s are masters at looking after everyone’s wellbeing and yet failing to use the same consideration for themselves. Accidentally guilty as charged myself.

I‘m no longer TTO and find myself nearly at the end of the academic year with a significant amount of holiday left to take. I know, having read posts on Twitter, spoken to friends and observed colleagues that I’m by no means alone in this particular boat. Giving ourselves the time to rest and switch off without guilt or worry that something has been forgotten is so important, and yet it’s probably one of the hardest parts of our unwritten job descriptions.

You know, that small print that says “this description is not limited to everything else that no one else will own?” Well, it neglects to specifically mention that in order to maintain the resilience for which we are so famous, we are allowed to value ourselves enough to switch off the physical laptops AND the mental triggers and pressures of the day job, and this includes the weekends.

So for those of you heading towards the summer break and for those like me who are AYR and wondering how we are going to find the time to use up our holiday allocation this summer between building works, preparing to open in September and winding up the end of the year, I hope over the next few weeks we value ourselves enough to find our physical and metaphorical switches quickly and most importantly, remember how to use them.

Find your happy place, rest, recharge, recuperate and return to a new year with a vengeance.

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