Happy Teacher Series: Self Care

Teaching is tough and we often forget to take care of ourselves. Check out this list of 10 ways to take a little time out and put yourself first!
Teaching is a demanding career, and if we, as teachers, don't take care of ourselves we are pretty much worthless. The truth of the matter is that we have to make time for ourselves in order to be our best for our classrooms.

Self care looks different for each person, because what relaxes one may actually cause stress for another. For example, part of my self care routine is reading every day. I like to get in a solid hour of it, but if you were to tell my friend that she had to read an hour every day she might lose her mind. Self care is not a one size fits all item. What is important is that you do what works for you.

10 Ways Happy Teachers Practice Self Care

  • Make time for exercise. Exercise serves two purposes because it is good for your body and good for your mind. In the words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy!
  • Take up a hobby. Your hobby may be reading, binging on Netflix, going for walks through nature, or taking long bubble baths they all serve the purpose of making you happy and taking your mind off of school. 
  • Give yourself something to look forward to. When I know I am going to have a particularly stressful week I will schedule a pedicure for my first free time afterwards. This way while I am working away and stressing out during the week I am able to remind myself that a pedicure is awaiting me at the end of it. It makes it that much easier to push through.
  • Give a label to your emotions. Sometimes you need to just stop in the moment and say that it stinks. When I am waist deep in a task that is tough I will stop and say, "I am totally overwhelmed right now," which actually helps me feel better. Once I have placed a label on my feelings I am able to dig in and move on from them. 
  • Get enough rest. When we are in the middle of the school year it is hard to take the time to rest well, but that is when it becomes even more important. Take the initiative to decide when enough is done, even if you still have things to do, and go to bed. With a restful night's sleep you will be a better you.
  • Have a snack. I don't know about you, but sometimes I not only get hangry, but my hunger can also affect my ability to handle life in general. Those snickers commercials may be funny, but they harbor truth. Give yourself a chance to eat a healthy snack like some fruit, nuts, or a cheese stick and try to attack the problem again. 
  • Stay hydrated. As busy as we get as teachers we often forget that we need to be drinking water throughout the day. Dehydration brings on a variety of effects not the least of which is not being able to think clearly. Grab yourself a cute refillable water bottle and drink up!
  • Give yourself a treat. Think chocolate. I like to keep a stash nearby, because it is amazing how quickly my mood can be lifted with a tiny square of dark chocolate. It must be those anti-oxidants. ;)
  • Give yourself a creative outlet. Doodling is a great way to relieve stress and has been proven to help us think through situations more clearly. You don't have to be a doodler though, maybe you like to write or paint. Having a creative outlet of any type can be relaxing and good for your health. 
  • Give yourself a break. Remember when you were a child and given and time out. You probably thought it was the end of the world. Fast forward to today. How nice does it sound to sit in a quiet corner and think about ourselves for a few minutes? I'll take two please! 
Teaching is tough and we often forget to take care of ourselves. Check out this list of 10 ways to take a little time out and put yourself first!
In the end it doesn't matter what you do to take care of yourself, just do it! For more ideas on how to stay a happy teacher check out 11 Things Happy Teachers Don't Do.

Other posts in the Happy Teacher Series:

How to Say No
Stop Pretending to Have It All Together
Accepting Imperfection
How to Encourage Others
Professional Growth
Stop Rushing Through Tasks
Follow Your Passions


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