Seven Simple Ways to Practice Self Care This Year
Self care. It’s a hot topic right now and for a very good reason. As a society, we’re working more hours than ever and it’s negatively impacting both our physical and mental health.
Teachers often find themselves guilty of trying to do it all while neglecting their own care. This is especially true at the beginning of the year.
Taking time to protect your own well-being benefits not only you, but everyone around you. That includes your students. This year, make it a goal to prioritize self care. Here are seven simple ways to get started.
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Seven simple ways to practice self care this year
Take a Break
You don’t have to do it all. In fact, you can’t.
No one can.
So don’t try.
In all my years of teaching, I never once remember a time when I was completely caught up without a single thing left to do. And that was despite working through breaks, coming in early, and staying late.
Be sure to take your scheduled breaks including your duty-free lunch. Working lunches can be helpful and leave you with less to do, but stopping even for a few minutes to eat will help you power through the rest of the day.
This also means taking a break from work when you get home. If your whole day is consumed by work, you will burn out quickly. Breaks are a great reset for your mind and can help rejuvenate you.
Ok, I admit - I laughed even typing this. But it’s important!
It seems counterintuitive to drink lots of water during the day considering teachers’ breaks are limited. However, drinking plenty of water is good for your health in so many ways. It will help you avoid fatigue, headaches, and a myriad of other issues.
Consider buying a reusable water bottle that you can take with you every day. This one is my current favorite. It fits in my cup holder, keeps my water cold all day long, and doesn’t “sweat” all over the place. You can gulp or sip using the different flaps on the lid.
Also, find a buddy teacher who can give you a bathroom break when you need one. She’ll quickly become your best friend.
I know it may sound silly, but set a reminder to relax and breathe. Some great meditation apps, like Calm and Headspace have free accounts for teachers to use in their classroom. They’re also the perfect tools for teachers to use at home in their personal lives.
Put on a meditation during your lunch break, the car ride home from work, or at home before you go to bed. You’ll be amazed at how this can help your relax and reset for your day.
Set aside time for yourself. This is easier said than done, but try your best. Take out your calendar and schedule time to do something for yourself. Because we all know if it’s not on the calendar, it will not get done. It could be taking a long walk, soaking in a warm bath, getting a pedicure, or time to read.
No matter what you choose to do with it, be sure to schedule some time for yourself every week.
Don’t Recreate the Wheel
Creating everything from scratch for your classroom can be exhausting. Practice teacher self care by utilizing teaching resources that save you time at school and home. Focus on working with your students and enjoying your “me” and family time outside of the classroom instead of spending hours planning and creating curriculum.
Use Social Media Wisely
Social media is a great place for teachers to collaborate and find ideas for their classrooms. However, social media can also be incredibly negative and harmful.
It’s all too easy to buy in to the idea that the Pinterest worthy classrooms and Instagram bulletin boards you see are the standard for “good” teachers. And when yours don’t compare, you’re left feeling less than or not good enough.
Remember - only the best photos are shared on social media. You rarely see the outtakes, the messy parts of a classroom, or the lows of that “perfect” teacher’s day.
The saying “comparison is the thief of joy” is so true. Don’t let comparing yourself to staged social media hurt your teaching confidence or your joy.
Give yourself grace
Most importantly, give yourself grace. As teachers we’re so good at being patient and kind to everyone else. We should treat ourselves just as well.
Remember that what you perceive as your shortcomings are often just that - your perception. More than likely you are doing amazingly well and your students love and appreciate you.
Learn to love and appreciate yourself.
There are seven simple ways to take care of yourself.
Which will you commit to practicing this school year?
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