Coming up on the month of love, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone to take love yourselves! Just like the safety announcements on planes tell us - we need to help ourselves before we can help others. As educators, it's easy to find ourselves in the predicament of hovering at the edge of burn out or stress overload. These states of being don't put us in a great place to serve our communities. So, this week, we're bringing the focus back to number one - yourself!
Schedule some me time this month - even better, schedule some each week! Do something you love, take a walk, listen to a book, or do nothing at all! Even if you take just half an hour to yourself, you might be surprised at how rejuvenated and recharged you feel. If you're like us, we sometimes don't know where to begin when faced with a free period! To help get your me-time ideas flowing, we've come up with the following ideas.
Physical Self Care
Working with children can do strange things to our bodies. We go from standing and demonstrating lessons to walking frozen on the playground to sitting at our desks grading endless stacks of papers. A teacher mentor once told me that if nothing else, I should always wear good shoes to school because the rest of my body would thank me at the end of the day. That was some great advice. Spend your half hour of me time thanking your body for supporting you through the long days at school.
- Go for a walk - those of you who work in bigger schools can stay out of the cold and just walk the halls. Bonus: you might get to see someone you've been meaning to chat with, or strike up a teaching collab with someone!
- Get a workout - studios and gyms frequently have shorter, introductory classes to entice new members - give one of them a try. Remember to mention you're an educator - some studios offer nice discounts!
- Connect with nature - in nicer weather, you can visit a park or just sit on the playground to enjoy the fresh air (perhaps when the students are inside or home for the day). If you live in an area with an arboretum or botanical gardens, those places can be fantastic for clearing your mind and reigniting your imagination.
Mental and Emotional Self Care
This is one of the areas that can be most difficult. Going for a walk, or going to a work out class involve going somewhere and feel "productive." Spending time to maintain our mental health may not involve work that can be seen, and can be pushed aside. Still, keeping tabs on our emotions and keeping stress levels in healthy zones is what this post is all about, and might be most helpful for making "space" for renewed energy, creativity, and problem solving in your work.
- Just clear your mind - pick a day to stay after school for an extra 15 minutes, turn off your classroom, library, or office lights and turn on a meditation track and set a timer for five minutes (you can work up to more time). Every time an idea or thought comes to mind, scribble it down in a notebook. Writing it down means you won't forget it later, but leaves you free to focus on clearing your mind. When the timer goes off, you can spend the rest of the time you've allotted yourself to look over your impromptu list of thoughts.
- Connect to your emotions - sometimes we don't allow ourselves to fully experience our emotions because we feel we don't have time. Listening to an emotional story can help us to loosen our emotional reins. Try listening while you're getting ready for bed or on your commute. These sad stories are a few Tales2go staffers' favorites:
Looking for more self-care ideas? More ideas and title suggestions are right here.