6 Self-Care Tips for Educators
6 Self-Care Tips for Educators
As an educator, you spend a lot of the day thinking about others. Did that student turn in his or her assignment? Did that parent send you another text (again)? Did your administrator see that email? And, often, thinking about others doesn’t stop at the end of the school day when you head to pick up your own child or figure out something to make for dinner.
The life of a teacher can be draining, and often, teachers don’t make enough time for themselves in any given day. Self-care isn’t just a trend on Instagram; it should be a priority for everyone. With testing season in full swing after a particularly challenging school year, take some time for yourself and know that self-care is the best gift you can give to yourself and to those around you. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about what self-care can look like in your daily routine:
Make time for yourself every day
Take a moment and read this first tip again. Make time for yourself every single day. Yes, that seems like a lofty goal, but it is oh-so important in your self-care routine. Pull up your calendar, and schedule out when you can fit some self-care into your day. Spending even just 10 minutes in your day centered around yourself can make a huge difference. Learn to cherish these moments about yourself, and soon they will become habit.
Spend time with others who bring you joy
While spending lots of time around other people can be draining, it can also be uplifting! Surround yourself with those who bring you joy, lift you up, and encourage you. While this can be challenging to do while practicing social distancing, even a Zoom happy hour or a quick FaceTime to catch up can make a difference. Creating a team of cheerleaders in your personal life—whether it is with friends, family, colleagues, and even other educators in an online community (like our own Edmentum Educator Network)—can help you through the good times and the bad.
Build an encouragement box
Assemble a “rainy day” box of positive notes, thank-you cards, inspirational quotes, and anything else you’ve received from students, staff, parents, and others over the years to look over on days when you’re feeling down. This can be a great way to give you a bit of encouragement and help you to get through those days when all you want to do is quit. Bonus: encouragement boxes make a great gift for a new teacher, a colleague who may be retiring, or anyone else who may need extra positivity in his or her life.
Relax and enjoy yourself
Self-care is all about doing something that makes you feel good physically, mentally, or emotionally. Take the time to relax and decompress from a stressful day by curling up with a good book, taking a hot bubble bath, enjoying a cup of tea, or talking on the phone with a loved one. Have a passion project you’ve been meaning to work on? Use your self-care time to pursue a hobby or side project of yours. Carving out that much-needed me time is important in approaching tomorrow with a clear head and refreshed sense of purpose.
Ask for help when you need it
As much as you’d like to think so, you can’t do everything by yourself. It is absolutely OK to ask for help from a friend, colleague or your family if you need it. Don’t try to take on the responsibility of handling everything all the time; this is how educators burn out. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you know your limits and know when to ask for the support of others.
Prioritize your mental health
Don’t forget about prioritizing your mental health. While it can be difficult to ask for help and put yourself first in a profession where you care for others, it is the single most important thing you can do for you. When your mental health is treated and cared for, you can focus on doing what you love most—teaching. WeAreTeachers has a fantastic resource for you to explore different mental health options and answers to some of the top challenges that many educators face when seeking care for mental health.
You put your hearts and souls into your career as educators, and your passion is truly inspiring for everyone at Edmentum to watch. We appreciate all that you do as educators, and hope you'll take a little time for you this week. Why not start off with a good laugh? Check out Eight Teachers Share the Funniest Things a Student Has Ever Said to Them.
This post was originally published May 2019 and has been updated.