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Educator Development

Self-Care: Connecting with Teachers Through the Mind

It’s easy to get so involved with supporting our students in the classroom that we don’t have the time or energy to foster our own growth and learning. As educators, it’s vital that we also turn our attention to our minds to develop our self-confidence and explore our inner selves.

Psychological well-being is considering the way one thinks and how one’s thought patterns can shape our thoughts and feelings. Leaning into optimism and growing your self-confidence is important for a positive self-image and a healthy psychological well-being. According to Dr. Apartna Iyer, psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “Optimism is a mindset that enables people to view the world, other people, and events in the most favorable, positive light possible.” Here are some ways you can put optimism forward and nurture your mind through growing, learning, and taking time for yourself.

1. Make time for self-awareness and focus on your own growth.

Have you ever considered how the energy you bring to the day can change your entire mood? One way to do this is to set an intention for the day by choosing a single word or phrase that will help you reduce stress and stay focused during frustrating moments. Maybe your word is strength or patience. Take time to be curious and ask yourself what you need to make the day more positive and what would bring more balance to your mood. You are not trying to change the world with this intention, but you can change the energy you bring to your day.

2. Find your professional support network.

You can find incredible satisfaction from connecting and forming peer support groups to help one another develop professionally. By making time for moments to learn from one another, get feedback, and support each other, you can nurture your inner learner and problem-solve as a group. Also, surrounding yourself with positive people can be extremely powerful! A smile and a good mood are contagious. Being around this positive energy will help you find ways to see the best outcome in any situation.

3. Engage in a hobby outside of work.

To explore your inner self, make time for activities that are challenging and new to you. Learning about something that excites you while growing your skills can give you a confidence boost and a sense of self-satisfaction. Reading a good book, completing a puzzle, or trying a new workout are all great ways to stimulate your mind outside of work. Grab a friend and connect together over a new shared experience or class.

4. Reflect on the positive.

Start a gratitude practice where you dedicate time each day to list out things you are grateful for in your life. Create a gratitude jar filled with small things you are grateful for written on slips of paper, and read a slip each time you need a little boost during your day. Take time to appreciate what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have. You can find positive psychological benefits simply from listing out the things you are grateful for in this way, and you can also gain additional benefits from referring back to your list and remembering the positive people and things in your life.

You can also try this activity in the classroom. Can you end each day with gratitude by inviting students to say what they are grateful for, or what they learned during the day?

At Participate Learning, we strive to empower all of our ambassador teachers to take challenges head-on 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 psychological self-care activities, and share with us on Twitter how you are prioritizing your psychological health this month @ParticipateLrng.

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