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Educator Development

Self-Care: Connecting with Teachers Through the Body

As a teacher, you dedicate a lot of yourself and your time in service to the well-being, learning, and growth of your students. This support can sometimes extend beyond the typical eight-hour workday and, with the pandemic, you’ve likely spent even more time than before working to support others in your life. Finding ways to cope and adjust to our new normal can increase stress and present unforeseen challenges.

As a way to show our recognition and gratitude for your unwavering dedication to your role as an educator, we have compiled a list of tips for you to implement in your daily life so you can better take care of yourself and improve your overall well-being. The National Institutes of Health states that positive physical habits can aid in lowering stress, decrease the risk of disease, and improve energy levels throughout the day. Read on to discover strategies on how to promote physical well-being for happier and healthier bodies.

1. Find a new way to move your body.

Now is the perfect time to try out a new workout routine that you haven’t had the chance to prior to the pandemic! Whether that’s an online Zumba, yoga, or kickboxing class, encourage yourself to step out of your typical routine while you are in the comfort of your own home. It can take a lot of courage to show up at a studio having never tried something before, so consider this to be a test-run so you can figure out what feels best and is most enjoyable for you.

Not only does exercise help with physical health, but it also can improve mood and overall well-being. Endorphins are feel-good neurochemicals that are released during physical activity that reduce pain and create positive feelings. When endorphins are released, they have a domino effect on all aspects of our day and can help with improving focus during work and getting more restful sleep.

2. Connect with your inner child.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to find time to devote to the things that light us up. However, dedicating time to playing and doing activities that excite us can have more benefits than just enjoyment. Playing like you used to as a child can release chemicals in our brains that make us feel less stressed and happier throughout the day.

So, turn on your favorite song and dance it out in your room like no one is watching! If dancing isn’t your thing, then try to identify some activities you liked to do as a child that involve physical activity such as gardening, jumping rope, or painting that you can get back into. This can be a great time for self-exploration and a fun way to try out an old hobby. Find a friend that has similar interests as you and see if they want to play too. Connecting with others through hobbies is a great way to boost your wellness.

3. Fuel your body with intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is the idea that when we listen to our bodies, we can find ways to feed ourselves in a satisfying and respectful way. Try to incorporate foods in your daily life that both feel good and taste good. By finding a balance of nutritious and delicious foods, you are well on your way to improving your well-being and giving back to yourself.

What are some ways you can try out feel-good, taste-good foods? Consider trying a new recipe with a loved one. Whether it’s baking or cooking, viewing making food as an activity is a fun way to try out new flavors and techniques while also getting your body moving. For snacking, try finding high-protein foods you enjoy such as nuts, yogurt, or veggies. These snacks will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day and taste great!

4. Incorporate intentional breaks into your day.

Scheduling breaks throughout the day can help you and your students reset and refocus your bodies and minds. Stretching can be a great way to get your blood flowing after sitting for long periods of time. Reach your arms up to the sky or touch your toes and begin to see the benefits that this mini-break can have for you.

Square breathing is another technique you can try in your classroom to calm both the body and mind. This is something students can easily catch on to, and it can be a powerful stress reliever. Outside of the workday, devote time to yourself by taking a long bath. Notice what areas in your body hold tension and allow yourself to fully release, relax, and unwind after a long day.

At Participate Learning, we want all of our ambassador teachers to feel supported and empowered to take on their challenges and dedicate time to themselves for self-care. Are you an ambassador teacher looking for ways to connect through self-care? Check our Ambassador Teachers Community of Practice for more information on this month’s physical self-care activities, and share with us on Twitter how you are prioritizing your physical health this month @ParticipateLrng. Stay tuned for more self-care posts in the coming months!

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