It’s important for teachers to remember that taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury; it’s a conscious, mindful strategy that results in being more energetic and present. This makes teaching more enjoyable and frankly, more survivable. Summer is a great time to reflect on the ways to take care of yourself and begin self-care routines for the school year. Here are some ideas:
- Make time for friends and family.
- Relax and have fun. That might involve spending time outside or swallowed up by a great novel.
- Make exercise a regular part of your schedule – walk, bicycle, dance, do yoga regularly.
- Connect with others. Before the school year begins, reflect on who your ‘go to’ people are. Who can you count on to listen deeply, see the humor in a situation, or exercise with you?
- Store your inspiration. When the new school year starts, keep a folder or journal of inspirational quotes and/or the positive comments students, parents, colleagues make to or about you.
- Gratitude practice. Spend time each day noticing what you are grateful for. Research shows that this changes your brain.
- Anchor yourself. Think of small ways to stay grounded during the school day. Make a list of ‘pick-me-up’ items you can keep in your desk (protein boost – granola bars, nuts, stress ball, herb tea). Create a box of some of these items for your desk. You could even make one for a colleague.
- Create a transition routine. Now is a good time to plan for ways to unwind or relax after each school day. Be creative: call a friend, take a walk, play with your pet, watch a show, dance, sing, take a bath, draw, cuddle with your children, knit, eat a healthy meal.