Principal - November/December 2019 - 25

Leading Learning
Communities

A

s a principal, you focus on the whole
child, making sure your students
are engaged, supported, challenged, and
healthy. And you also need to support the
whole teacher in recognition of the increasing demands they face. But who is looking
out for the whole leader?
Take a look in the mirror. You're the one
looking after your health and well-being.
And if you are going to be the person everyone needs you to be, you'll need to make
self-care a priority.
From the moment the alarm goes off in the
morning to the time you crawl back into bed,
you have opportunities to uplift yourself while
taking care of everyone around you. The most
important question each morning is likely
not, "What do I need to accomplish today?"
but instead, "Who do I need to be to accomplish great things today?"
Let's take a look at the principal's day to identify a few opportunities for self-care:
The messages you tell yourself when you
wake up. As you rub your eyes awake in the
morning, what messages do you tell yourself?
Do you berate yourself for not going to bed
earlier? Do you look at the day ahead and
groan because of the 12 meetings scheduled?
The messages we tell ourselves matter more
than the messages we tell others. If you focus
on just two positive things when you wake up-
one reason you're proud of yourself and one
thing you're grateful for, for example-it can
have a huge impact on the day ahead.

If you are going to be the person
everyone needs you to be, you'll
need to make self-care a priority.
There are plenty of resources that can help
you create this new habit. I often play a "morning motivation" YouTube video, a Brené Brown
audiobook, or a selection of inspiring songs in
the morning. Other people might read devotionals or write in a journal. Use whatever tools
necessary to make the first words you tell yourself in the morning positive and uplifting.
Lead with a smile. Principals' schedules and
to-do lists make others cringe. The job is often
described as "lonely," but it doesn't have to be
that way. Instead of allowing a list to lead the
day, lead it with connections and smiles. I greet
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students each morning with warmth and positivity. What would happen to your connections
with teachers if you greeted them the same
way? Strong, positive connections with adults
can have a significant impact on school culture
and help satisfy a principal's needs, too.
Move. I admire principal friends who run, but
running is not the only beneficial way to move.
Incorporating movement and play into each
school day is a great habit to curate in addition
to exercise before or after school. Get out of
the office and into the halls, classrooms, and
playgrounds to get your steps in. Whether you
want to become a #FitLeader through running,
strength training, or Zumba, you'll not only
improve your health, but you'll also positively
impact the way you feel physically and mentally.
Make connections. When I get to spend time
with educational leaders across the state and
country, I am re-energized. I love meeting up with
them face-to-face at conferences, and I am happy
we can stay connected through social media. I'll
never have to face a problem alone, because I have
connections with other leaders across the country.
I turn to district colleagues for advice often, but I
can also pick up the phone, send a Voxer message,
or tweet a request to get a different perspective.
This has transformed my practice and supplied
copious amounts of ideas and inspiration.
Sleep. When I'm running on little sleep, I joke
that I'll sleep when I am dead. But research shows
that sleep is no joke. Our bodies might need different amounts of sleep, but getting at least seven
hours is crucial to health and well-being. It impacts
our health as much as diet and exercise, but principals often burn the candle at both ends. Creating a
consistent bedtime routine can help maximize the
amount of sleep we get and its quality. If your bedtime routine consists of checking email and Twitter
one last time before a fitful night, try another routine, such as taking a bath or reading a few pages of
a book. Prioritizing sleep the same way you prioritize email can contribute greatly to wellness.
Our daily habits can make us or break us.
Principals do such a great job of taking care
of others that they can lose sight of the importance of taking care of themselves. If you have
self-care or wellness tips, share them using the
hashtags #NAESPchat and #SerendipityEDU.
We are better together.

KNOW WHEN
TO UNPLUG
Electronic devices are
affecting users' ability to
sleep well, the National
Sleep Foundation says. The
blue light that screens emit
suppresses melatonin, the
chemical that regulates
circadian rhythms, making
it harder to fall asleep and
stay asleep. To get the rest
you need, make the 30
minutes before bed gadgetfree, or ban screens from
the bedroom altogether.

Allyson Apsey is principal of Quincy Elementary
in Zeeland, Michigan, and author of Through the
Lens of Serendipity: Helping Others Discover the
Best in Themselves.
Principal n November/December 2019

25


https://twitter.com/hashtag/naespchat https://twitter.com/hashtag/serendipityedu http://www.naesp.org

Principal - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - November/December 2019

from the editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Intertwined for Achievement
Planting the SEAD
Making PLCs a Plus
Measuring Up
Look Out for the Leader
Engagement Across the Generations
The Sum of Its Parts
Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Raising the Bar
Principal’s Bookshelf
School Law
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 1
Principal - November/December 2019 - 2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 3
Principal - November/December 2019 - from the editor
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5
Principal - November/December 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - November/December 2019 - 7
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - November/December 2019 - 9
Principal - November/December 2019 - Intertwined for Achievement
Principal - November/December 2019 - 11
Principal - November/December 2019 - 12
Principal - November/December 2019 - 13
Principal - November/December 2019 - 14
Principal - November/December 2019 - Planting the SEAD
Principal - November/December 2019 - Making PLCs a Plus
Principal - November/December 2019 - 17
Principal - November/December 2019 - 18
Principal - November/December 2019 - 19
Principal - November/December 2019 - Measuring Up
Principal - November/December 2019 - 21
Principal - November/December 2019 - 22
Principal - November/December 2019 - 23
Principal - November/December 2019 - Look Out for the Leader
Principal - November/December 2019 - 25
Principal - November/December 2019 - Engagement Across the Generations
Principal - November/December 2019 - 27
Principal - November/December 2019 - The Sum of Its Parts
Principal - November/December 2019 - 29
Principal - November/December 2019 - 30
Principal - November/December 2019 - 31
Principal - November/December 2019 - Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
Principal - November/December 2019 - 33
Principal - November/December 2019 - 34
Principal - November/December 2019 - 35
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
Principal - November/December 2019 - 37
Principal - November/December 2019 - 38
Principal - November/December 2019 - 39
Principal - November/December 2019 - 40
Principal - November/December 2019 - 41
Principal - November/December 2019 - 42
Principal - November/December 2019 - 43
Principal - November/December 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - November/December 2019 - 45
Principal - November/December 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - November/December 2019 - 47
Principal - November/December 2019 - 48
Principal - November/December 2019 - 49
Principal - November/December 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - November/December 2019 - 51
Principal - November/December 2019 - Principal’s Bookshelf
Principal - November/December 2019 - 53
Principal - November/December 2019 - School Law
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - November/December 2019 - 56
Principal - November/December 2019 - 57
Principal - November/December 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - November/December 2019 - 59
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - 61
Principal - November/December 2019 - 62
Principal - November/December 2019 - 63
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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