Well-Doing vs. Well-Being #BellLetsTalk
Last week at the beginning of our staff meeting, our vice-principal, Harry Bell, told us a moving story that spoke directly to my soul. This man is truly filled with wisdom and I love to hear what he has to say as it’s always so thought-provoking. Last Tuesday was no exception and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about a few words specifically that clung onto my heart; words that I even wrote down on a post it so I can be reminded of them every single day. The words?
WELL-DOING vs. WELL-BEING
Harry spoke about his exceptional talent of doing things well. He, along with what I would assume to be most educators, myself included, are fantastic at well-doing. We are do-ers. We do what we have to do, and we don’t stop until they are done, and done well. We put our own needs aside to make sure that the needs of those we serve are met. If someone is in need, we are the first to volunteer to help in any way possible, even if that means neglecting ourselves and those we love. We often get the short end of the stick, while everyone else gets the best of us. At what point do we slow down and realize that we need to make ourselves the priority? I can’t speak for others, but for me, it’s often when it’s too late. It happens when I’ve given so much of me that I have absolutely nothing left. Not only is my cup empty, but it is cracking.
Over the last week since hearing Harry talk about his journey from well-doing to well-being, I’ve been trying to make sense of it all. I’m left with more questions than answers, and although I believe that I am great at well-doing, I am now second guessing myself. These two have to be related. Can I truly be well-doing if I’m not well-being? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s sustainable. In order to continuously and consistently well-do, I believe we must be in a state of well-being. I’m not saying that we should start caring less and doing less, I’m just wondering if we would actually end up caring MORE and doing MORE if we put ourselves first? Would we not have more to give if our cup was fuller?
I strive to be in a state of well-being, but often fail. That balancing act is no joke! There will always be challenges and hard moments, I just have to keep working at it and readjust the sails when my cup is depleted or starts to crack. I am learning to notice these signs earlier so that I don’t end up completely drained, but I’m far from having it all figured out, and I know I’m not alone. We all have our own unique strategies to fill ourselves up and refill our cups, and it’s important to remember to do those things before we are completely empty, or worse.
Today, on #BellLetsTalk day, I encourage you to reflect on your own state of mind. It’s time to move beyond simply well-doing and experience all that well-being has to offer. What can you do for YOURSELF today? What fills you up? Let’s talk about it!
Chin up, we are in this together.
Ramona MeharfJanuary 31, 2019 at 5:42 am
I think we are often very good at well doing and forget about well being. November was a tough month for me and I felt my cup was empty..but it was likely starting to crack as well. Your point that if we put more towards well being, we would be better equipped to being able to more well doing. Something to ponder on this 3rd bus cancellation of the week, and as our new semester begins next week.
Annick RauchJanuary 31, 2019 at 6:16 am
Thoughts to ponder… absolutely! It’s been on my mind a lot lately. I hope that through November, you were able to discover more “fill me up” practices and that you continue to use those, Ramona.
Rhiannon Phillips-BiancoFebruary 8, 2019 at 12:43 am
I love this. Powerful words. Beautifully put.
I agree. As teachers, it’s so often about well-doing and our own well-being suffers. My well-being has suffered greatly due to this in the past.
Having learnt, the hard way, about how important it is, I now prioritise student well-being and I have found that that benefits us all. By making time for breathing exercises, brain breaks, daily exercise, gratitude journals, random acts of kindness and activities to support emotional regulation, my class has benefited greatly and I feel much better too. Of course, it is vital to have support from your school to prioritise such initiatives and I feel very fortunate that we are encouraged to find time for well-being.
Annick RauchFebruary 8, 2019 at 5:54 am
I love all that you are doing with your students, Rhiannon. Too often, social emotional learning gets tossed to the side, when I believe it’s the most important thing we can teach! Thanks for taking the time to read and share your comments!