While teacher self care has not always been at the forefront of discussion in the field of education, most educators will agree that teaching is time- and emotionally-intensive work. But the joys of the profession have often outweighed the challenges! However, in the past couple of years, we have faced circumstances that we never imagined . . . live virtual lessons, socially-distanced classrooms, and just the overall craziness of the world and nation to name a few! And just as we thought the 2021-22 school year offered us hope of returning to “normal,” we have found that this year is in some ways more challenging than the last.
This year, you have again had to adapt to new challenges. You have worried about kids being behind or the behavioral challenges that they are presenting. You stay late at school and take work home so you can meet the needs of all of your students. And while this work is hard, you continue to do it because you love what you do and you love your students!
That being said, taking care of YOU, especially over this holiday break, needs to be a priority so that you can continue to serve your students and families well. So here are some simple (and mostly FREE) teacher self care ideas and tips that will help you rest and recharge over the holiday break.
Teacher Self Care Ideas
1. Make Some YOU Time!
As teachers (and many of us parents), we are in the habit of putting children first. We serve the needs of our students daily. Sometimes we need to stop and make sure we are taking quality time for ourselves, so we can be our best selves! According to Elena Aguilar, author of Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators, “The time you put into taking care of yourself, will reward you with productivity, efficiency and emotional well-being” (2018). So read a book, listen to some tunes, or curl up with your favorite magazine (or blog) and take some time for yourself!
2. Improve Your Health!
As teachers, we always eat healthily, like having a good breakfast and lunch, and exercise regularly, too, right? Probably not as consistently as we’d like! In The Distance Learning Playbook: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in Any Setting, authors Fisher, Frey and Hattie share that “managing stress, eating healthily, and exercising regularly are important to our well-being” (2020). This holiday season, start some healthy habits to make you a healthier (and happier) you. Try to counter the holiday feasts with some healthier food choices, and go for a walk, run or bike ride to get your heart rate up and burn some calories!
3. Kindle Your Relationships!
While the cornerstone of a great classroom is positive relationships with our students, teaching can be very isolating because we don’t always have many adult interactions throughout a typical day. And then if we are busy with our families (or school work) during the evenings and weekends, we often don’t get to socialize with our peers. The Mayo Clinic shares, “Friendships have a major impact on [our] health and wellbeing” (2019). So use your holiday break to connect with your spouse, friends or extended family. Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you is very uplifting!
4. Indulge in Your Faves!
As teachers, we are in a profession where most of our energy is spent serving others. And while that’s commendable, it is also good to indulge in ourselves sometimes! Whether it’s an extra cup of coffee on an early morning by the fire, one of those delicious cookies that Grandma used to bake, or your favorite Netflix show that you missed last season, don’t be afraid to indulge yourself . . . just a little! To quote Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation, “Treat yo self!”
As 21st-century teachers, we are connected to digital tools a good portion of our days at school. And as modern adults, we are sometimes on our phones a good portion of our evenings. So here’s a friendly reminder from a digital learning coach: unplug for a while! Stop trying to multi-task by checking your email as you chat with your neighbor. Try meditating in the evenings instead of watching Instagram Reels. Spend the last moments of your evening snuggling with your partner, kids, pet, or yourself, instead of giving Facebook on last scroll. As author Anne Lamott says ”Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
6. Have Fun!
Finally, take some time to do something that makes you happy! Whether it’s taking a trip, playing your favorite board game, or engaging in your hobby, make a little merry this holiday season!
Need Some Self Care Strategies for Teachers?
So give yourself a break, and enjoy your break because you deserve it! You deserve to have some time to take care of yourself. If you liked these general self care strategies for teachers, but want some more specific teacher self care ideas, check out my FREE resource, Treat Yo’Self! Holiday Choice Board: Self Care Activities.
What Are Your Favorite Teacher Self Care Activities?
Comment below to share your favorite self care activities!
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For more encouragement for 21st-century teachers, check out my post “The ‘Techie’ Teacher Myth” and learn how to get the confidence you need to just “click”!