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 training other teachers. I did a lot those first few years, but I didn’t take care of myself. Now, as a seventh-year professor of education, I make sure that this a topic that 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 a topic of discussion prior to the pandemic. As educators of excellence, we must pour into ourselves first, then we can pour into others. But what does self-care really mean to us as teachers? So, let's break it down. We know that self-care isn't selfish, and we've seen that phrase all over social media. Let’s normalize self-care and taking a break.
Unplug - Setting 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) and it has been a great tool to use when the timer is up the app grays out so I can’t use it again until the next day. I recently deleted social media from my phone and that has been working wonders for my stress. I know just post from my PC where I have timers set for certain 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 me this wooden sign which 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. When I am working, or teaching is 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 became to love myself more and believe it. The affirmations that I use daily are “I am an excellent wife, mom, and teacher.” You can create affirmations that speak to your heart and use them each day. 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 has been a wonderful way to count blessings and recounting 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.
One other thing I found very helpful to make sure I am taking time for is 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 really help you take time for YOU! Be intentional with your time and schedule in one or all of these challenges during the month of January! Let’s make January and 2021 the year of taking care of you!