Teachers have to take care of themselves to be their best teacher. Self care includes small to significant habits. It is an essential component of a teacher’s mental health, not including self-indulgent activities. Also, self-care lowers stress and prevents burnout in teachers.
Self Care starts with
- Setting and maintaining boundaries at school and at home
- Recognize what is and isn’t in your control
- Create a plan
Self Care is not the same as self-indulgent behaviors. Self-care promotes long-term care of yourself, unlike indulgent behaviors with short-term rewards.
Self Care Habits include
- Drinking plenty of water daily~ You must stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Eating Healthy~ Eat balanced meals and don’t rely on junk food because it is easy to get through the day.
- Get Enough Sleep~ You have to get enough sleep to be productive. You may have to put work down that is not complete to allow you to get enough sleep. You make more mistakes and are less effective when you are tired.
- Exercising/Walking~ Exercising is a habit that you need to form. This does not mean you have to go to the gym. One way to make this happen at school is to walk during recess.
- Reflect on your feelings~ Journaling is a great way to do this.
- Mindfulness Practice~ Breathing and meditation are something that you can do with students. Here is a great video for mindful breathing.
- Positive Affirmations~ These statements can be said as a class, written on post-its, or just stated aloud to yourself.
- Practice Self-Care with students so you can learn together. Journaling, mindful breathing, and positive affirmations are great practices to do with students.
- Social Break~ This allows you to reflect and decompress from the day or event.
- Social Support~ You need to surround yourself with people who understand and support you. You need “your person” at and out of school who can provide you with a listening ear and healthy support.
The burnout rate for teachers is high because they are in a caregiver role and tend to take care of everyone else before taking care of themselves. Therefore, self-care is essential for teachers. You start forming small habits and then work towards more extensive habits. Take advantage of your time to practice self-care with your students. You always want to be the best version of yourself.
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