The Principal's Handbook

Do you struggle to get regular movement in when you are off work? Did you know that sitting is the new smoking? In this episode, I share the importance of regular movement and ways you can incorporate it throughout the day. We are going beyond just an exercise routine.

In this episode:
  • The importance of movement throughout the day
  • Practical ways to move at work and outside of work
  • Self-reflection on how much movement you are currently getting
Reflection Questions:
  • How long is your commute to work?
  • What does your workday typically look like?
  • What activities do you engage in after work?
Listen in and assess your overall daily movement to improve your health and well-being.

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What is The Principal's Handbook?

Are you feeling swamped by the demands of being a principal? From juggling emails, calls, and decisions to boosting test scores and wading through endless paperwork, the pressure is real.

But imagine a scenario where you no longer feel this overwhelming stress. Picture yourself as a more resilient leader, concentrating on enhancing your school rather than merely coping with the daily tasks that currently consume your time.

I ‘m Barb Flowers. Drawing upon my eight-year experience as an elementary principal, with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and certification as a life coach, Along the way, I've mentored and coached school leaders, guiding them to change their mindset, set boundaries and focus on their own well-being while navigating their roles.

Each episode offers practical insights on time management, communication, overcoming overwhelm, boosting confidence, and fostering a positive mindset. We'll also discuss topics like working with stakeholders, implementing new initiatives, and managing discipline. Let's set boundaries, focus on well-being, and reignite your passion for being a principal. Welcome to "The Principal's Handbook."

I firmly believe that to be an impactful educator, you must first become a confident and well-rounded individual. Join us in this journey to empower and enhance your confidence as a school leader.

The Power of Movement for Principals
[00:00:00] In today's episode. I want to talk about the power of movement for principals. That's all coming up next. Right here on the principals handbook. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the Principal's Handbook, your go to resource for principals looking to revamp their leadership approach and prioritize self care. I'm Barb Flowers, a certified life coach with eight years of experience as an elementary principal. Tune in each week as we delve into strategies for boosting mental resilience, managing time effectively, and nurturing overall wellness.
From tackling daily challenges to maintaining a healthy work life balance, I'm Barb Flowers. We'll navigate the complexities of school leadership together. Join me in fostering your sense of purpose as a principal and reigniting your passion for the job. Welcome to a podcast where your wellbeing is the top priority.
Welcome back to the podcast
today, we're going to be exploring as the importance of getting movement in and how you can do that. Either on days, you're sitting a lot due to being in meetings or if it's summer and you're not as [00:01:00] active as you are throughout the school year. So this can be looked at, , throughout different times of the year.
I think the unique thing about being a principal and getting in movement throughout the day when you're at work is you get to choose how much movement you get on a regular school day. By how visible you are in the building. if you focus on getting into classrooms, being in lunch duty, being around the building throughout the day, you're naturally going to get in lots of movement.
However I know for me, there were days that I had so many meetings back to back and there was a lot of sitting. I might have meetings scheduled and observations and. There were days where I was sitting a lot and those days were really hard for me because , I have a active goal to get 10,000 steps and I try to. Get up and get moving. And then there were days that I just had to get some stuff done in my office.
And so I would get out and move some, but I also spent a lot of time getting things done to meet deadlines or whatever it was, where I was sitting in my office getting work done. So that can be a problem if you're trying to get movement in [00:02:00] throughout the day. And I want to talk about the importance of movement because. Movement is crucial for our bodies beyond just structured exercise.
So I'm talking about more than exercise. Don't get me wrong. Doing 30 to 60 minutes of cardio in the morning is a wonderful thing or strength, training or yoga. Any of that is super important. Having exercise routines is so great for your physical and mental health. I'm a huge advocate for exercise. But today, what we're talking about is just movement for the body. And this is just beyond your morning or afternoon exercise routine, because there's a lot of articles out there now, and I see, I've heard this a lot, that sitting is the new smoking.
And really what that has to do with is it's really bad for your cardiovascular health to be sitting all day. Even if you get up and you do a five mile run and then you sit all day. It is not good for your body. There are so many negative effects of sitting on your mental health, on your digestion because your body [00:03:00] needs you moving to digest food properly on your muscle health.
Because if you think about it, when you're sitting in a chair for long periods of time, you know, you're not engaging muscles and your posture's bad. So there's a lot of negative effects of sitting and our bodies are designed to move regularly throughout the day. And I know there's things out there like standing desks I had a teacher who had a treadmill under a desk.
There's lots of different ways that you can get movement throughout the day. If you do work at a desk, but you have to be really intentional because. Standing desk are great, but I know that it's not always the most fun thing for me. I focus a little bit better when I'm sitting, but standing desks are very good for your body and it's good for you being up and moving. I want you to think about your daily routines as it pertains to how much you're moving throughout the day and how much you're sitting. So think about how long is your commute to work that you're sitting during? Is it 30 minutes each way.
Is it an hour? What does that look like? What does your typical [00:04:00] Workday look like? Are you getting a lot of movement throughout the day, or are you feeling like you're sitting more throughout the day? What activities do you engage in after work? So even if you're super busy after work, then are you laying on the couch or sitting when you get home, what does that look like? So really think about that and assess your overall daily movement.
How active are you? How much movement are you getting throughout the day holistically? So I want to give you some tips today for increasing your movement since we know it's so important. So if you're at work during the Workday, here are some things you can do. First take the stairs. When I was a principal, I worked in a two-story building and I made sure to always take the stairs.
I'd never took the elevator. Because that gave me extra steps. It gave me extra movement. I'm moving my body in a different way. So you want to always make sure that you're taking the stairs. If you have that opportunity, also walk to communicate. I'm really guilty of, I would send an email because it's super quick, but sometimes I would think, you know what?
[00:05:00] I'm just going to take the time and walk to that teacher's classroom and have that conversation versus sending an email or calling, or if I need a student I'll just walk and get them and talk to them right outside the classroom. Versus having the student come to me because it's me getting steps to go communicate with others.
And also I feel like there's a different dynamic when I'm talking to people outside of the office versus them coming to me in the office. So that's a way that I like to get movement in throughout the day. I also try to, be as visible as possible.
When I was a principal, I tried to get into classrooms. Every day, even if it was just walking around for a minute in each classroom to see what was going on. Let the kids know that I was engaging in their learning, knowing what was happening in the classroom and just taking that time to get up, be active.
It was a time that kids could talk to me cause they knew I was coming into their classrooms and teachers would talk to me as well. Also, if you're working in your office, take regular breaks. So stand up, walk around every 30 to 50 minutes.
A lot of smartwatches [00:06:00] now have that feature where you have to stand up. I have an apple watch and they have the stand-up feature. I laughed because I'll be in professional development and you can hear everybody's watch, go off where you can see people start to fidget when it's 10 minutes to the next hour, because their watch is going off that it's time to stand, or I'll notice that people get up and go to the restroom because they're trying to get that walk break in. , that stand break.
So I think that one, that's funny because so many of us have those watches, but it's a good thing, right? It shows us that we all should be getting up and getting some sort of movement at that time. Another thing to get more movement is drinking lots of water. And I've heard people say, I don't want to drink a lot of water , because I don't want to have to go to the bathroom, but I once heard a fitness coach saying that's a good thing.
If you drink a lot of water, And you have to go to the restroom, then it gets you up. If you're sitting at your desk or , in your office. It's just a great excuse to get up and get walking is to have to go to the restroom. So drink plenty of water, keep yourself hydrated.
And that's not only keeping you healthy and [00:07:00] hydrated, but it's a way that you're naturally going to get up and get more movement in. Also during meetings. So if I have a day that I have a lot of meetings, if possible, I know this isn't always possible, but I will try to take breaks between meetings.
Even if it's meetings back to back. If I'm not running a meeting, I will tell the person running the meeting that I might just be five minutes later. So. And I will take that time to get some movement in. I will go to the restroom, get some water, take a minute, break to move my body and stretch.
I'm going to be better in the next meeting. If I take that little break, if I am leading all the meetings, sometimes if I'm able, I'll start the next meeting, maybe five minutes late to just again, give myself that break. And I'll tell people I'll be with them shortly, but as much as possible, I try to stretch and move around between each meetings, even if I'm in a meeting and it's like a two hour meeting and I'm able. And I find a good time.
I might step out and use the restroom and take a quick break. Again, if I'm able to, if it's a meaning that the principal really needs to be there, or it's a meeting where there's a lot of [00:08:00] tension and you know, you need to be the support in that meeting and you're leading it. Then I know that's not always possible, but if it is a meeting that's going well, you know, somebody else is talking and you're able to get up and excuse yourself for a minute.
It's always a good idea to get up, take that break, walk around and come back. If you are not in work, if you're on summer break, I just wanted to give a couple of ways for you to stay active during summer break. So try to follow a daily step goal. So for me, it's 10,000 steps a day. That number just comes from something I saw on Fitbit.
I don't really know what that means or why 10,000 steps are good. I know some people aim for 15,000 steps a day. That's a lot of steps. So it depends on you. You might try to get 7,000 steps a day. Having a step goal is a great way to increase. Your exercise, your movement throughout the day. So if you wear a watch, what I would recommend, if you don't count steps now is to look at what your average step count is. And then try to raise it a thousand and just keep raising it little by little.
So for example, if you [00:09:00] only walk right now, 4,000 steps a day, The next day, I wouldn't try to get 10,000 steps. I would try to then meet a goal of 5,000 steps a day, and then the next week, bring it up to 6,000 steps a day. But having that daily step goal really helps you just. Feel active and get moving.
It's just good motivation. Also try to get up in regular intervals. So continue to get up. Like I said earlier, every 30 to 50 minutes, this is great. Even at home, I try to do this. Even if you're off work. Because we might be doing activities like sitting by a pool or watching our kids play sports, things like that, where you still need to be mindful of how much you're sitting and use those milestones to get up and walk around.
Also try to have an active summer routine. So try to create some sort of routine. Where you're getting activity in, because like I said, you might be used to being so visible in the building and walking around all the time. And if your offer, you know, a month or six weeks, like some administrators are, then you can [00:10:00] create an active summer routine.
So this could be walking every morning and then taking another walk. Mid-afternoon. Just so that you know that you're getting your step count throughout the day or you're getting activity throughout the day. I have a dog. I like to take my dog for a walk that motivates me. If you have kids. You know, even going on a bike ride with your kids or going on a bike ride with a friend, just finding active things, you can do go kayaking, go swimming and really get your body moving during the summer.
So. Finding things that you can do, creating habits and routines. Where you are making your activity levels. Non-negotiable and you are saying, I'm going to be active twice a day. These are the activities I'm going to do. That's a great way to keep yourself active outside of work, because it's easy to just go from being active all day to sitting. I've mentioned another podcast and things that I had one summer where, you know, I'm active during the day at work.
I always get my 10,000 steps. And then I come home in the [00:11:00] summer. I'm around my kids. I'm eating their food. I'm not as active. I gained 10 pounds and I go back to work and none of my clothes fit. And so it's really important. And that was in six weeks. I was only off four to six weeks as a principal.
So it's really important that during that time you are making sure that you're eating healthy and you're continuing to move, and you're not letting that activity level dropdown. So just to recap, we need regular movement throughout the day. More than your exercise, exercise routines are great.
I highly encourage you to get an exercise routine. If you don't have one. But regular movement throughout the day is super important for keeping yourself healthy. I hope you try some of these strategies that I shared in this podcast. But just remember to move holistically, integrating it both during work, off of work when you're working out, when you're not working out. If you're interested in some accountability with being more active, getting healthier, or just focusing on your mental wellbeing and your mindset, schedule a [00:12:00] free consultation with me.
I can help you identify where you're struggling the most and help you get to the root of the problem. It's completely free. And from there, we can create a plan for you to get where you want to be, whether it's a professional or a personal goal, we can create that plan. And then I can help you. Decide where you want to be and help you get there. So reach out to me.
If you're interested in that, I also have a nutrition group that's starting on July 8th. So, if you want to get a better routine with your nutrition, have a better mindset around nutrition and food. Please reach out to me at Barbara Barb players,
I would love to have you in our accountability group. I have one that starts each month, but the next one is July 8th. And if you love the show and you're listening on apple, scroll down in your app and leave a review. Keep in mind you have the power to shape your life. According to the mindset you choose.
I hope you have a great week and I'll see you back here next time.
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