Teacher Self Care
Are you counting down the days until the end of the school year? Do you feel exhausted or stressed?
Teachers have one of the most important jobs. They spend the majority of their time educating students and growing their minds, that sometimes they neglect their own bodies and wellbeing.
During the safety briefing on every airplane flight, you are reminded that in case of an emergency to fasten and secure your air mask first before assisting others. Why? Because it helps you be more effective when helping others. The same goes for mental health and overall wellbeing.
The marking, planning, meetings, coaching, the list of responsibilities goes on. It might feel like a daunting task to imagine squeezing 15 minutes into every day for you to take a moment for YOU.
Where to start? Self-care does not need to be a relaxing all-inclusive vacation at a five star resort, where you’re waited on hand and foot (although that would be nice!). You can incorporate self-care techniques into your daily routine when you are getting ready in the morning, or throughout the day.
Try some of the following:
- Deep breathing.Did you know you can trick your brain into thinking everything is fine with slow, deliberate breathing? Deep breathing can help increase circulation, and calm your nervous system.
- Reach out to your fellow teachers. Talking to others and verbalizing your troubles can sometimes help you move through them.
- Take a 15-minute timeout.Schedule your timeouts during the day when you have no interruptions. Use this time as a mini-recharge.
- Get moving!Even if you don’t have time for an official exercise plan, you can see stress-relieving benefits from minor activity like jumping jacks in your living room, or squats in between classes.
- Get back to nature.Teachers might not have a lot of time for long hikes, but being with nature can be as simple as taking a walk or taking your 15-minute break outside.
- Disconnect from technology.Constant digital stimulation can increase your anxiety or sense that “you aren’t doing enough.” Set aside time each day that you are not connected to your phone or computer.
- Pamper yourself. Schedule time during the school year for something special. It could be a nice dinner, a spa treatment, or a weekend daytrip, experiences that will help you refuel and recharge for the school days ahead.
Self-care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about recognizing your own needs and taking steps to meet them. Self-care is about taking care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. What self-care methods do you use?
Amanda Niskala is a Health Promotion Coordinator with Alberta Health Services