We're back in the swing of things at schools around the country. Standardized testing is coming up. Grading is piling up, already. Our houses are a mess. Meetings, planning for next year, appointments, more meetings, baseball practice...
Feeling stressed? Oh yeah! I'll bet you laughed when I said it's time for some self-care. I can just hear you, "Self-Care? Ha! Who has time for that?!"
Teachers are notorious for not taking care of themselves. If you think you don't have time for yourself, think again. You can't afford to not take time for yourself. The kind of pace that most teachers live is not sustainable without serious long-term consequences. The top of that list is serious teacher burnout. Let's face it, there will never be "extra time" to "fit ourselves in" later. It's not going to happen. But if we don't make time to care for ourselves, the consequences are huge. So, make yourself a priority. Invest in you, so you can invest in others.
#1 Quality of Life
Teacher burnout is very real. We deserve a better quality of life than putting ourselves last gives us. It comes down to really living according to our priorities. Take time to decide - what does quality of life look like for you?
#2 Being Present
Our students deserve a teacher that is fully present. We kid ourselves on this all the time. We are not fully present when we are stressed out and overwhelmed.
Not taking care of ourselves consistently effects our health over the long haul. Stress wears us down and makes us more prone to illness. It also kills brain cells and prohibits the growth of new brain cells. I don't know about you, but I don't have any to spare. What good is retirement if you are too sick to enjoy it?
We are a better, more creative teachers when we are not stressed. Being rested opens our minds to possibilities. That's why we teachers do much of our most creative work at the end of the summer.
A day off, a weekend without work refreshes our souls and clears our minds. It gives us perspective.
There is a reason the airlines tell us to put our own oxygen mask on first before helping others. We're useless if we can't breathe. When we come up for air on a regular basis, our ability to focus on the task at hand is much clearer and more directed.
When we're are worn to the bone, we have nothing left to give. The ability to be patient requires rest and a mind at peace.
#8 Love & Respect
It's impossible to truly love others when we don't first love ourselves. By putting ourselves last, we are telling ourselves and others that we don't matter. How we treat ourselves tells other how to treat us as well. Want to be treated with love and respect? Then, treat yourself with love and respect first.
A happy teacher is a good teacher. I don't know about you, but a classroom without joy is not where I want my child. Ever.
When we hunker down and white-knuckle it through the year, we lose hope. It's not a sustainable lifestyle and our souls know that. Without hope, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Stay tuned. In my next post, I'll give you easy tips to carve out time for yourself and still get all the important stuff done. Really.
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