June is shaping up to be a very busy month for me. I have important writing deadlines to meet, a large outdoor theatrical event to manage, a new work project to get underway and three weeks’ classroom teaching covering for a colleague that was totally unexpected. I am not one who subscribes to the glorification of busy. It’s overrated. Everyone needs time to chill, recharge the batteries, think through projects and directions and just be. And yet, at this time of year especially it’s difficult to find down time. Teachers and students have reached that major stress point in the school calendar – exams. Time to take care of your wellbeing is so vital if focus and enthusiasm is to be maintained during stressful or busy times. I tell my students this all the time. Build relaxation time into your work schedule. Take regular breaks away from your revision books or pcs. Some follow the advice; others find it almost impossible. How opportune, then that a review copy of a pocket sized book by Michael Townsend Williams should fall into my hands.
He’s a local man who exudes good health. Advertising executive turned yoga teacher and mindfulness coach, Michael is an advocate of ‘welldoing’, the art of leading a busy and productive life but not at the expense of one’s health. Do Breathe his pocket sized reference explores some techniques to bring busy people focus, vision and organisation as they work through their to do lists. And it all starts with better breathing.
As one who is starting work on a new study skills and organisation programme with secondary school pupils, it has one or two tips I think I might use or adapt for with students. Organised into three steps – Prepare, Practise and Perform – Michael’s book leads you from the basics of confronting the stresses in your busy life , through the first tentative steps of setting up and sticking to new and better work habits to finally managing your time successfully and getting through an ever increasing list of demands, whilst keeping a healthy focus on your own wellbeing. There are hints, tips and exercises to try out and further reference material for those who want to delve a little deeper. Some of it is common sense, but scattered throughout the book are a few gems you may not have thought of.
I think mastering the art of welldoing might stand me in good stead over the next few weeks.