As a mother, daughter, sister, friend and wife together with being a teacher for over 30 years, you could say maintaining a balance is a juggling act. You could probably join my club!

So, what of my life balance between school and home over the years?

Working can be very rewarding. We aim to make a positive ‘difference’ to our families and other people around us, but we can slip into a downhill slide if we don’t look after ourselves.


My Story: Extended periods of heightened and unmanaged stress can be compounded over time.

I’m sharing some of my tried and tested strategies, which were necessary when I needed to look after myself.  I acted only after having physical symptoms due to an unmanageable anxiety that took over when I was 48. My big trigger was a personal one (the death of my father) but I needed to hold it together not just for myself but to serve my family and everyone I worked with.


As Einstein said:

‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.’

It was I, who had to change… I waited until life was very hard for me, before I acted- not great.


I felt I had boxed myself into a corner and something needed to change. It was I, who needed to change priorities. It was very difficult to commitment to a new routine of a daily (15 minute) meditation routine. Being in that corner, I had no choice but to help myself and change what I was thinking and doing.

To explain, my ‘space’ was created when I started to politely say ‘no’ to others when I felt I had nothing else to give or, when what they were asking was not important or reasonable. I believe in the effectiveness of respectful sharing ‘personal policies’ to explain some change, particularly if it affected others and their routines.  Saying something such as ‘I have a personal policy of not befriending parents on social media platforms for it to work for me. It’s complicated.’ Works well. Others can’t really argue with a ‘personal policy,’ can they?

If you’re like me, you might not always make time for self-care so, here is a list of the apps and routines which when implemented within a ‘space’ I made for myself, made a positive difference to how I felt.

Disclaimer: The following strategies are suggestions. See your personal physician if your health is ailing. I share these ideas in the spirit of helping others and in the belief that if more of us spoke about mental health, there would be more inclination to help ourselves and others without stigma.


Routines and practices: Try a few easier changes to make a start, (not listed in priority order.)


Plan to:

  • Breath in deeply, hold for 3 seconds and breathe out slowly for 5 seconds. Repeat.

(This is my favourite. I build up, to progress to a hold for 15 seconds and exhale over 5 seconds. Beautiful!)

  • Try to go to sleep at the same time every night
  • Walk along a beach or in nature
  • Drink less coffee and alcohol (we know this already)
  • Drink more water (sparkling mineral water feels like a treat)
  • Drink relaxing herbal teas, especially at night
  • Eat slowly and mindfully- enjoying tastes and textures
  • Eat less, of everything! (especially sugar and avoid eating late at night)
  • Seek a psychologist about issues if needed. (I am now mindful of my ‘unhelpful thoughts’)
  • Go and see a movie by yourself. (Try it, if you doubt it will relaxing/fun)
  • Turn off your mobile phone and avoid social media late at night (we know this too!)
  • Keep your phone out of your bedroom -recharge it in another room
  • Buy an inexpensive digital alarm if you use your phone to wake up
  • Cook a new dish (ask a friend to suggest an easy favourite recipe- usually a winner!)
  • Enjoy a bubble bath (seriously, take time out to do it!)
  • Go for a drive and listen to an audiobook to ‘get away’ from unhelpful thoughts and stressors
  • Watch a few programs at night. (Avoid the temptation of late night online streaming marathons)
  • Go for a massage/physio/osteopath/chiropractic treatment (anything that feels good afterwards)
  • Yoga for beginners (Not keen on a class? Try it on the floor in the privacy of your own home with YouTube)
  • Swim and stretch


Helpful Apps:

When my sleep was affected, I tried guided hypnosis. The positive difference it made to my sleep quality was amazing. (Others I have shared the following list with, agree!)






I hope that these ideas will serve you well when needing to managing stress. They work for me!








Susan Spelic

Literacy Expert


Graduate Mentor

Professional Speaker (Melbourne, Australia)、

Harnessing empathy for struggling readers, her 30 years of Literacy intervention and EAL teaching experience, Susan Spelic writes innovative titles to support classroom and home reading and spelling programs.

Published by The Reading MountainÒ, five innovative decodable ‘chapter books’ support students while developing Phonemic Awareness,  learning phonemes and sounds they represent.


For more information about:

  • Graduate Teacher coaching
  • Classroom coaching (for effective teaching of reading and spelling)
  • Parent group presentations
  • Author visits/lessons for Early Years students

Contact Susan Spelic   or


M: +61404795884


You may also like to read:

Different strokes for different folks – parenting is no different

How to Teach Children Manners

Tools to Make Co-parenting Easier