Educators are some of the most selfless people in the job force. They dedicate their time and energy to better the lives of their students and often spend many extra hours outside of school working to help their students both in academics and in their overall wellbeing. This extra effort and devotion to the next generation does not go unnoticed or unappreciated, but it is also important for teachers to take care of themselves, too.
When teachers are at their best personally, they are able to be present and engaged with all of their students and educate them to the best of their abilities. In order to be their best, it is essential for teachers to take intentional time outside of the classroom and prioritize their health and wellbeing. Read on to discover ways that educators can take time for self-care and promote their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Mental health is one component of wellness that can sometimes be a last priority in our busy lives. Dedicating time to taking care of one’s mental health can be one of the most beneficial ways to improve health in other domains as well and maintain a positive outlook. One easy way to boost mental health is by taking pre-scheduled breaks from technology and social media. With many of us spending more time than ever in front of a screen, these breaks are well-deserved and can also help improve the quality of sleep you are getting each night.
Meditation and guided breathing can offer many benefits to mental wellbeing, too. Free apps like Insight Timer provide a structured way to incorporate these practices into your daily routine. The practices can be customized for specific content or length of time for an individualized experience. Along with meditation, spending some time journaling each day can improve mental health as well. Journaling allows you to look back on your previous thoughts and reframe them in a new perspective.
Feeling good physically by taking care of your body can make such a difference in how you feel each day! Incorporating stretching and walking breaks into your workweek can not only improve how you feel physically, but it boosts focus and engagement when you are working. After work, set aside time to exercise and get outside. One way to increase motivation to exercise is by setting a goal you want to achieve. Whether it is exercising three times a week or running a 5k in a month, having an attainable goal to work toward helps you hold yourself accountable.
Another way to take care of yourself physically is to find new recipes to cook! Pick out a new recipe online and support your farmer’s market by buying local produce. Taking time to be intentional with cooking meals can make it an experience rather than a must and nourishes your body and soul.
By taking care of our emotional health, we are supporting ourselves and the wellbeing of our loved ones. One way to improve your emotional health is by investing in yourself professionally. Professional development courses are everywhere and can offer a sense of community while building your knowledge of a particular interest area. An example of this is our United We Teach Summit that brought together like-minded professionals in a space where they could learn from one another and give advice. Check out the recordings of our summit presentations here.
Another way to improve emotional health is to find leisure activities that bring you joy or by starting a new hobby. Learning a new instrument, baking a dessert, knitting, painting, or gardening are just some ways you can support your emotional health. In addition to that, staying connected with loved ones over phone or video calls can be a great way to recharge and focus on what is important.
The past few months have been a difficult time for all of us, but it has been particularly taxing for teachers who are having to work harder than ever to make an impact on their students. Whether you are teaching remotely, in-person, or a hybrid of the two, it is important to take the well-deserved time for yourself that you need to stay healthy and at your best.
Using these tips can help you not only survive quarantine but hopefully will leave you feeling refreshed and equipped with new skills, knowledge, and perspective on ways to prioritize your own wellness. For more tips on how to stay well this school year, join our United We Teach Community of Practice and connect with other educators around the world. Also, check out this blog post for six steps to become a stronger teacher.