As educators, we often forget to take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. It seems we are constantly being drained of emotional strength and physically, we don’t have time for the healthy movement we need to improve our health. As an educator for 14 years, I have learned the importance of taking care of SELF first. In the past, my emotional health was tapped out by interactions with students, parents, and colleagues. It took some time, but I settled on a healthy regime of my own that includes yoga, meditation, and Zumba. I practice taking those needed, intentional deep breaths throughout the day. I read “5-Minute Daily Meditations,” by Sah D’Simone every day. I also try to tie up as many loose ends as possible before leaving each day, so I can limit work done at home. Below are more tips about how to add self-care to your life. I have implemented all of the tips listed below in my own life and can vouch for their impact and effectiveness!
5 Self-Care Tips for Educators:
1. Set and maintain boundaries. Include an end time to your workday so you won’t spend too much of your personal time doing school work. Begin to use when-then sentences, for example, “When I finish grading papers, then I will take a walk.”
2. Acknowledge moments of gratitude and joy. Hold on to/write down moments that brought you joy, made you laugh, or were enjoyable, throughout the day.
3. Reflect on your own feelings and needs. It is important to recognize and name your emotions. For example, you might say, “I’m feeling overwhelmed because there’s a lot of information about new technology my school is using. I need a five-minute break. Then write down your questions and connect with the person/people who can assist you with problem-solving.
4. Recognize what is out of your control. Consider making a t-chart listing what is within and out of your control, so that worry and anxiety can dissipate once you realize that many of the things you worry about are out of your control.
5. Use self-care routines throughout your day. Set an alarm to experience self-care rituals throughout your day. Practice deep breathing and use a self-care guide to find which rituals work for you.
Tanisha Ricks is a library media specialist in Norfolk Public Schools and an eMediaVA Ambassador.