As educators, we pour so much of our heart and soul into the profession. Often we go above and beyond to meet the needs of our students in the face of unprecedented circumstances. For many of us, the demands of the job can lead to feelings of exhaustion and burnout so it is very important to carve out time for self-care. Here are some practical examples of how to fit self-care into your daily routine.
Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate!
I find the more I drink water throughout the day this really helps me with stress. For example, during class transitions or planning, I always get out of my classroom to fill up my water bottle. This forces me to get up and move and prioritize staying hydrated while teaching all day. During stressful moments drinking my water provides clarity and a moment to refocus.
Take a morning and afternoon break daily
This is extremely important as educators because we are always on the go and tend to work nonstop. By giving yourself two breaks, it will allow you time to refocus the energy on yourself and many times taking time away from a task, helps with seeing the situation in a different light.
Facetime/Connect with someone who is not an educator
Even though our teacher friends can be quite helpful and insightful of our daily struggles and tasks, I find when I converse with non-educators, I feel a renewed sense of energy and purpose because the conversations are not centered around work.
I began to do this during the pandemic because this allowed me to take some time away from work and constantly connected online. You can print off free coloring pages online too and spend as little/much time as you need.
Set a goal to read one book a month
I use Good Reads to stay motivated and look at popular titles and reviews to find what book I am going to read next. This is also a good accountability tool because it tracks your reading. Many times the books I am choosing are non-educational just for pleasure reading. This helps my mental health as well.
Set a cutoff time for the day
This was initially very difficult for me as I tend to bring work home, check email, update Google Classroom, etc. By establishing healthy boundaries of a set work time this helps me know it is time to stop even if I am not finished with the task at hand. Find an hour that works best for you and commit to it! Your friends and family will also greatly benefit from this small step as well.
Take the weekends off
Since we get paid only during our contract hours, I find it best practice to enjoy the entire weekend and spend it how you please. Even as I write this and reflect upon it, whenever I work during the weekend when Monday comes I find myself tired and not fully rested.
Take a look back at student emails/notes/cards etc that brought a smile to your face
This small practice helps keep me grounded in this difficult and challenging work and reminds me of my why. I keep a small folder on my desk and whenever I am feeling discouraged or tired, I find hope in pausing to read these messages.
Forgive people and the negative things that were holding you back
If you are receiving a new class, refrain from hearing about the class from a prior teacher. Start with a fresh start. Had an issue with a colleague? Try restoring the relationship or at the very least try to forgive and move forward to a healthy place. Holding onto grudges does nothing for you in the short or long term.
Each day is a gift that’s why it is called the present. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is the present!
Even if this list seems overwhelming, I recommend starting with 2-3 strategies and you will begin to gain momentum and develop a routine that best fits your schedule and liking. As educators, it’s important to note that we cannot pour from an empty cup. Take time for yourself…you deserve it and your students, family, and friends will benefit greatly from the best version of YOU!