As an educator, do you prioritize self-care?
Teaching is an intensive job and even more tasking in the face of a pandemic. Meeting every child’s need in-person and virtually can take a toll on a teacher’s mental health. Some teachers may think that taking time for self-care steals the time they have to spend on students. But the truth is that self-care is not selfish. When an educator is well-comported, he/she will deliver better educational value.
A study by the advocacy group, Alliance for Excellent Education, reports that 40-50% of new teachers leave within their first five years on a job. Many factors contribute to the high dropout rate, a severe lack of work-life balance, and the inevitable high-stress levels teachers feel on the job, to name a few. Because of this, self-care is vital for teachers. However, it is hard for teachers to take care of themselves when their job is to take care of students.
Here are some realistic self-care tips for educators to enable them to stay sane while discharging their duties. Note that a healthy self-care routine should include one of these daily: Physical, mental/psychological, social, and even spiritual.
Learn to sleep and exercise as often as possible. Sleep is important for managing stress and replenishing the energy reserves needed for tackling tasks. Numerous studies reinforce the value of adequate sleep—seven to eight hours a night for adults. According to a research review by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, one value of sleep is that it helps “maintain many vital functions” of the body, giving cells and tissues worn out by daily lifetime to recover.
Endeavor to flex your muscles and get enough rest to make up for the energy lost during the day’s activities. You can explore a fitness app that helps you monitor your progress and keep you committed to exercises. If you are too busy for that, you could set aside 15 minutes or more each day to walk or pace inside/outside.
Between lesson planning, researching, and attending professional meetings, you should also learn to meet and stay connected with friends and family. A day out with friends and family will not harm you. In cases where you cannot go out, you can connect with your loved ones using any video conference tools—like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, WhatsApp, and FaceTime.
Communication is an effective way to rejuvenate yourself. But communicating with your students may not give you the “social vibe” you need. Hence, the need to leave school work and relax. This does not mean that you should abandon work without prior notice to the school proprietor or principal. Set out a day or two within the week—that does not affect your job— for relaxation. Attend fun-filled events, participate in discussion groups. In all, learn to socialize beyond the four walls of a classroom.
Teachers are so concerned about the well-being of students that they forget to perform mental/psychological evaluations from time-to-time. As an educator, you can schedule activities that allow you to meditate—such as yoga, listening to music or podcasts, playing games—and engage yourself with your hobbies.
You can also speak to a therapist whenever you feel overwhelmed. And If you have worries, problems, or anxieties in or out of work that will not go away, then talking to someone outside your situation can make a huge difference to finding a way through. Do not wait to reach a crisis point or hold back because you feel your worries are insignificant. If you have an underlying mental problem, we can help; kindly reach us via the comment section or any of our social media handles.
Educators are role models for our students and our children. And the best way to teach them is to practice what we teach. Managing our physical, mental, and social well-being can give us the energy to be available for those we are responsible for and help them learn how to cope with tough situations.
Find a daily routine of self-care for yourself and stick to it as much as you can. It is the simple things that help us all to stay healthy in mind and body. Find a leisure activity that you enjoy; gardening, reading, cooking, crafting – whatever works for you.
Remember that your energy is contagious, so you need all the positivity and sanity you can get to groom the children under your care.