Self-Care for Teachers

The excitement of back-to-school activities has ended. Students have established routines and are entrenched in the day-to-day work of learning. Educators are trying to keep up with grading, lesson plans, meetings, and parent-teacher conferences. They are working long hours and dealing with stressful situations. People who have spent time in the classroom recognize that educating young people is often more than a job; it becomes a lifestyle. However, educators will also benefit from remembering to take care of themselves. Experienced educators realize the importance of their own well-being if they are to keep up with the frenetic pace of teaching. They understand the value of self-care. They develop support networks.

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An educator’s wellbeing is key for the health of their students, families, and schools. By taking care of themselves, educators ensure that they have the energy and focus to help their students. So as now that you have established routines for your students, consider building your own routines for self-care. Talk with your teacher friends, professional learning communities (PLCs), and teams to make plans to care for and support one another. Here are a few suggestions to help you set up self-care habits:

  • Arrive at school early each day so that you can enjoy five minutes of quiet. Sit and enjoy the stillness. Meditate. Reflect in a journal. Try a yoga pose. These five minutes can give your mind and body a break before the start of a hectic school day.
  • Take a lunch break. Yes, there are emails to read and lessons to prep, but bodies and minds need fuel. Eat a healthy lunch. Drink some water. Talk with colleagues or students. Take a walk. This midday break can increase afternoon focus and productivity.
  • Join your students when they take a brain break. Go Noodle has guided mindfulness activities and dance routines to change the energy in your classroom. By participating, you enjoy the break with your students. Who doesn’t feel better after trying the Macarena or the Chicken Dance?
  • Set quiet times. Technology has made educators more accessible than ever, but that does not mean availability 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Let families (and colleagues) know that you disconnect from technology at a set time and then do it.
  • Build relationships. Teacher friends are so special that they have their own name! Share. Ask for help. Laugh. Establish no judgment zones and let people know that you are there to support them.
  • Celebrate! As a team or a PLC, plan routines for celebrating. Pick up doughnuts or coffee on Fridays. Bring candy to team meetings. Go out to dinner on the day’s progress reports go home. Life gets busy, so agree on ways that you will find time to celebrate together.

These are just a few ideas. Try one of these or think of your own. Either way, be mindful that educators cannot take care of others unless they take care of themselves.  You are important in the lives of your students! To take care of them, you can start by taking better care of yourself!

Do you have a self-care routine or habit that keeps you energized? Share your practice in the comments below to support our Education Solutions community.