Brianne Gidcumb | February 2018
Self-Care for Teachers
How many of us made New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st with the best of intentions? I did. And as the routine of daily life has exhausted us and stolen focus, how many of us have let those resolutions slide onto the back burner? I have.
Our days are scheduled to the minute, to the point of overcommitment, packed with responsibilities, chores, and to-do’s. And we let our own physical, mental, and emotional health fall down our list of priorities. I submit that our own well-being should be priority number one. You can’t fill from an empty cup. Let’s explore a few ways you can integrate a little self-care into your busy days. Schedule some self-care practices into your day. Commit to them as you would any other event on your calendar. Maintain the greatest asset to your students (YOU!).
Care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Give yourself permission to take a break and relax. So many of us struggle with giving ourselves the space to slow down, but know that maintaining the asset that is you is essential to keeping up the pace it takes to be an educator. You can only give of yourself to your students if you have a reserve of energy, time, and passion to give. Take a nap. Get away for a weekend. Disconnect from technology for a few hours. Take a bubble bath. Get a massage. Do something to release tension so that you can move forward with intention.
It’s one thing to restore: it’s to find and maintain balance in the midst of our busy days. Too often, we wait until we reach that burn-out status before we give ourselves permission to care for ourselves. Integrate some practices to help you maintain a sense of centeredness. Close your classroom door and meditate for 10 minutes at lunchtime. Move daily to refresh your body and release stress. Start your day by journaling for just five minutes. Create rituals that give you a sense of peace every single day.
Engaging in daily personal development can not only help you to maintain a sense of centeredness and focus, but also energize and impassion your busy days. Start your day with 10 minutes of reading. Take a class (for fun, not only for professional development). Pursue that hobby that’s always interested you. Find a creative outlet. Engage in something (outside of teaching) that inspires you. Feed your soul.
Always remember that YOU are the greatest asset to your classroom and to your students. You are responsible for facilitating your students’ growth and learning: it is an awesome privilege and responsibility. And if you don’t protect the asset (YOU), your students will be impacted as well. It is not only okay to take care of yourself- it is necessary!