Updated: Aug 3
Hey friends, when I was an education major (back in the early 2000s), I learned so much about what it meant to be a teacher. I learned about strategies, pedagogies, and best practices. I learned about the importance of building relationships with students and how to adapt instruction. One thing I didn't learn about was the power of self-care.
Early in my teaching career, I would arrive at school early and stay late each night. I volunteered for committees and trained other teachers. I did a lot those first few years but didn't care for myself. Now, as a seventh-year professor of education, I make sure that this is a topic we discuss – self-care. Teacher self-care has been brought to the forefront of education due to the pandemic, but it should have always been discussed before the pandemic. As educators of excellence, we must pour ourselves first. Then, we can pour into others. But what does self-care mean to us as teachers?
Unplug - Set timers on your apps and devices so you can unplug. Truly unplug and be with your family. I started with adding timers to apps like social media on my mobile device (you can find them under the digital well-being settings), which has been a great tool. The app grays out when the timer is up, so I can't use it again until the next day. I recently deleted social media from my phone, which has worked wonders for my stress. I post from my PC, where I set timers for specific websites. If this sounds too drastic for you (I get it), try doing a few nights a week where you unplug or unplug with a family dinner. Just try it. I was amazed at how much lighter I felt when I unplugged.
Wherever you are – be all there. My sister made this wooden sign I have up in my living room. It is a reminder that wherever you are, be there. For example, when I am with family, be there with them. I am working or teaching to be all there for my students. This reminder has helped me be present.
Affirmations – I read about this in Rachel Hollis' book Girl wash your face. At first, I thought it was silly. But as I kept doing it and writing my affirmations, I began to love myself more and believe I use affirmations I use: " are "I am an excellent wife, mom, and teacher." You can create affirmations that speak to your heart and use them daily. Whether you write them down each day or have them on a sticky note that you look at each day – give them a try!
Gratitude – Practicing gratitude is a beautiful way to count blessings and recount the positives from each day. In addition to writing down my affirmations, I also write down what I am grateful for each day. That could be a memory from the previous day or an opportunity I have coming up.
Another thing I found very helpful is to make sure I am taking time to write down activities and dates/times to do those activities! I created this self-care January freebie just for you to check out! This freebie was created with you in mind to help you take time for yourself! Be intentional with your time and schedule in one or all of these challenges during January! Let's make January and 2021 the years of taking care of you!