There hasn’t been a more tumultuous start to a school year in recent history. COVID-19 dips and spikes are making it hard for administrators to plan basically anything, and the looming question is whether to send our kids back to school this fall or teach them virtually. All this uncertainty means self-care for teachers is even more important than ever.
Teaching is an intensive job, even more so in the face of a pandemic. Making sure every child’s needs are met in-person, let alone virtually, can be taxing on a teacher’s mental health. Some teachers may think taking time for self-care diminishes the time they have to spend on students, but the truth is that self-care is not selfish. When teachers are at their best, they deliver better educational experiences — it’s that simple.
Self-care ideas for teachers
A healthy self-care routine should include one of these elements every day: Physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, social or professional.
Here are a few ways teachers can take some time for self-care so they can show up for their students.
There are many benefits of journaling for mental health and self-care. Writing down your emotions can help you express yourself in an unbiased way. It can also help you keep track of what is triggering your emotions so you can find ways to prepare yourself for when they strike again, develop a plan and ultimately reduce your stress.
Don’t be too hard on yourself while you’re journaling. This is your private place to write what you want in any way you choose. No one is grading you here.
Try adult versions of crafts
As a teacher, you likely make some type of craft each day. Let’s try making the adult version of these crafts. For example, rather than making vanilla-scented soap, what if you tried champagne-scented? Rather than painting on paper, how about painting or decorating some wine glasses? Make your gal pals friendship bracelets with classy beads. Even if you can’t gather your friends together for a craft night right now, you can still meet virtually and partake in crafting together.
Self-care emergency pack
For when your days at work get particularly stressful, pack a self-care emergency kit and stash it in your desk. Your kit should be personal to you and include things you know will put you in a better mood. A few ideas:
- Your favorite tea
- A picture of someone/something you love
- A calming essential oil like lavender or chamomile
- Your favorite lotion or soap
- A rubbing stone or object you can hold
Plan for a break
Self-care for teachers includes planning time in your day for a break. In the same way students recharge at lunch and recess, so should you! Waterford.org reports that over 40% of teachers report feeling high stress every day during the school year. Causes can include lack of resources, class behavioral problems or pressure related to preparing children for standardized testing. All these stressors lead to the same outcomes: weakened physical and emotional health.
Despite any preconceived notions you may have about meditation, it does work and anyone can do it. This one has bonus points because it’s also something you can do with your students. Meditation, even for just five or 10 minutes each day, helps you slow down and understand how you’re feeling in the moment both physically and environmentally. The same holds true for your students.
Here are some guided meditations you can use for your classroom.
Self-care for teachers is vital
If left unchecked, a teacher’s stress can lead to burnout. Let teachers know you’re thinking of them and send your child’s favorite(s) a brilliant coral orchid this month and get 20% off (enter code CORAL20 at checkout).
If you’re a teacher, treat yourself to some orchids or foliage for your classroom — virtual or in-person.