Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Wait Until After School!

The past year has added so many additional stressors on educators: virtual teaching, juggling teaching formats, and wearing masks, to name a few. Teachers must find ways to manage stress to avoid emotional and physical exhaustion. Book clubs, fitness classes, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep all help teachers recharge outside of the school day. But what can teachers do to promote self-care during the school day?

 

Self-Care Strategies for Teachers

Even during the busiest of school days, teachers need time to recharge physical, emotionally, and socially. Consider options that are quick, flexible, and fun.

  • Physically Recalibrate your energy levels with one of these activities: 
    • Go for brisk walk around your classroom, in the hallway, or around the building outside.  
    • Do a HIIT workout from an app if you have the space.
    • Complete some stretching/yoga poses.
    • Engage in anything else that will increase oxygen levels and blood circulation.  
  • Emotionally- Support your senses in your learning space with some of the following:
    • Play classical music while working alone (or when students are working independently) to calm your mind.
    • Use essential oils or air fresheners to freshen up your classroom.
    • Plan a snack/drink break that will boost your spirits! A hot cup of tea or coffee can be the perfect rejuvenator during a long day of teaching.
  • Socially- Connect with colleagues, or carve out time for yourself, with one of these strategies:
    • Participate in goodie days by having teams take turns bringing in treats and snacks to share at a staff gatherings. 
    • Plan a time for a team lunch. Order from a local restaurant, or pack lunches and spend the time talking about life outside of school.
    • Create alone time. Teaching is a challenging endeavor. Give yourself permission to unplug (turn off email!) and unwind, even if for a brief moment. Just thirty seconds of deep breathing can help recalibrate our senses.  

 

Self-Care Strategies to Use with Students

Self-care strategies are needed for students’ well-being too. Self-care procedures should be scheduled throughout the school day to benefit all members of the community.  

Here are some simple ways to promote self-care for you and your students at the same time:

  • Energizers Use short, playful activities to keep energy levels high before, during, and after a lesson.  Consider activities that:
    • Are lively or calming (depending on the needs of the group)
    • Allow interaction
    • Incorporate movement
  • Calming Strategies- Teach students techniques to manage stress.  Some examples:
    • Deep Breathing Exercises
    • Chair Push-ups
    • Mindfulness Practices
    • Yoga Stretches
  • Quiet Time- Plan a 5-10 minute period where students can choose an independent, quiet activity such as:
    • Reading
    • Drawing
    • Solving Puzzles 

Self-care is as important now as ever.  Make time – put it on your calendar, set a timer, and hold yourself accountable – to support your emotional and physical well-being.

What is something you can do to benefit you and your students?  Share examples and ideas in the comment section below.

Additional Resources

 

Written by Andy Moral

Tags: self-care

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