Yet, thanks to Boundless, a club for public sector employees, with 230,000 members, it’s not laughable: it’s entirely possible.
There’s no denying that the odds are against you if you’re a teacher. The pressures of the lifestyle – long hours in the classroom, marking, lesson preparation, target-setting, communicating with parents, internal meetings and record-keeping – mean there’s little time for anything other than sleeping and eating.
And then, when it finally comes to holiday time, the best bargains have been snapped up by those lucky people not confined to school terms (who no doubt taunt you about your long holidays).
It’s hardly surprising that teachers are feeling the strain. The most recent NASUWT survey of teachers and school leaders – the Big Question Report 2016 – found that workload remained a serious challenge, with 90% of respondents citing it as their number-one issue. More than four-fifths said they had experienced more workplace stress in the last 12 months and a worrying 85% claimed their job had had a negative effect on their wellbeing.
Janet MacGregor, a primary school teacher in North Yorkshire, has been teaching for 14 years and knows the feeling: “I’m at a school where staff and leaders are great. It’s an amazingly rewarding job and the children are fantastic, but there aren’t enough hours in the day and there’s a feeling of never quite getting it right.”
MacGregor tries hard to make time for herself and her family, taking one day off a week and prioritising her children and hobbies, but still feels she doesn’t achieve a balance. “I don’t exercise as much as I would like to and I do think my job is detrimental to my health.”
According to therapeutic coach and author of 365 Ways to Feel Better (published by White Owl), Eve Menezes Cunningham, carving out some time for yourself is essential. “Burnout can be debilitating and it doesn’t take much self-care to keep that spring in our step, even if we feel we’re being overly indulgent.”
AdvertisementResearch suggests that spending time on hobbies is actively good for your health. A 2013 study in Sweden looked at the health of those performing what they called Nepa, or non-exercise physical activities, such as gardening, home repairs and gathering mushrooms or berries.
The study found that these activities cut the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to a quarter. Not only that, but creative activities can boost performance at work and reduce feelings of stress, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. Participants who spent time on a creative pastime were more likely to feel relaxed outside work and be more inventive in the performance of their job.
With term time so overwhelmingly busy, finding the time or the energy to track down affordable activities can seem overwhelming for a school-weary teacher. That’s where Boundless can help. James Robertson, head of marketing, explains: “We specialise in the ‘life’ side of the work-life balance. We curate a range of experiences, events, offers, all with the purpose of trying to help people get as much as possible out of their free time.
“We’re fully aware that, especially for teachers, time is the most precious thing. We want them to be able to find something great that won’t break the bank, and find it quickly so they spend more time having the experience than sitting at a desktop going from website to website.”
Boundless solves the problem of holiday bargains, too. All its offers apply equally all year round. “We don’t have exclusions where the only time you can actually use the offer is a Tuesday night in November,” says Robertson. “If you want to go to one of our partners’ theme parks, the offer is available at that rate during holidays so teachers can use it as well.
“We have a massive range of holiday offers running all year round, too. Two of my favourites at the moment are a city break in Florence and the holiday of a lifetime in Sri Lanka.”
Source: The Guardian