Teacher care! You care about creating an atmosphere of quality learning. You care about meeting the individual needs of your students. You care about following through on all of your instructional and non-instructional duties. You care about the students and families you serve. You care about your colleagues and strive to be an exemplary team member. You are so busy caring for others that you fall short when it comes time for your own self-care. And friend, let’s face it: if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to care for anyone else.
So, how do you work self-care into your already over-scheduled day? Here are a few tips:
- Take a Cleansing BreathStop what you are doing. Inhale slowly and deeply as you focus on your breath. Concentrate on the air that is filling your lungs as your chest rises. Now, slowly and mindfully exhale and feel your chest lower slowly. As the air leaves your body, feel the relaxation of your muscles and the calming of your mind. Repeat as needed.
- Practice Positive Self-TalkGive yourself a little grace when things don’t go as you have planned. Do not allow negative thoughts to swirl around your brain causing internal chaos. We all make mistakes, so instead of chastising yourself, look at mistakes as opportunities for growth. We encourage our students to see mistakes as brain-building experiences and so should we.
Move Your BodyMovement is energizing for your muscles and your mind. Take a walk, practice yoga, dance to a favorite song, stretch, hit a punching bag—whatever movement moves you. Your mind and body are intimately linked and the way you move can affect how you think and feel. Simply changing your posture can change your mood.
- Reconnect With or Take Up a HobbyExploring some type of leisure pursuit can be both relaxing and invigorating. Paint, garden, bake, sculpt—whatever activity brings you joy—take time out to immerse yourself in that experience.
Read or Listen to Something InspirationalChoose a motivational topic and take time out to read, check out a podcast, or listen to an audio book. Allow yourself to unplug and to be encouraged.
- Connect With a Friend or Loved OneSchoolwork can be consuming, so take time out of your schedule to connect with a special person in your life. Have coffee or dinner with a loved one—someone you value and who values you. Spend time chatting and encouraging each other. This quality time together can be cathartic and be a boost for your mind and body.
Teachers are faced with overwhelming responsibilities while striving to check off the daily to-do lists and meet each student’s individual needs. Intentionally taking time out to remember your own mental, physical, and emotional health will rejuvenate your mind and body and help to keep burnout at bay. Educators are lovers of learning, so take time to learn the importance of self-care. You will be refreshed, motivated, and ready to inspire those entrusted into your care to be healthy lifelong learners too.