Teaching students is an incredibly draining, difficult profession that can take a toll on anyone doing it. As a result, making changes to your life to allow you to take care of yourself is imperative. Here are some tips and tricks to help you to make better decisions for self-care.
Minimize How Much Work You Take Home
One of the best ways to help you to take care of yourself is to avoid bringing work home with you. Being able to turn off your work brain and relax is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, it is also not easy to do as a teacher, no matter how old your students are. There are papers to grade, questions to answer, and lessons to plan.
If you do have to bring work home, try to do it all at once to allow yourself to get it out of the way.
Schedule Time Off - and Stick To It
Whether you want to spend your time doing a variety of activities or simply lounging around on the couch, be miserly about your free time. You get so little of it as it is. Don’t allow PTA groups or needy parents to worm their way into your precious free time.
Treat your time off like a doctor’s appointment in your schedule - unavoidable and important.
Once you have that time, fill it with whatever you need to take care of yourself and your family. You’ll be much better off for doing so.
Use Your Vacation Days
Many teachers struggle to take the time off that they earn when it’s needed. Don’t let it be that way for you. Your sick days and vacation days are meant to be used when you need them, no matter what’s going on around school. Even if you just need to hole up at home with the shades pulled, that’s a valid reason to use those days off.
Try Yoga During Planning
On the days where your planning period isn’t full of a thousand different tasks, it might be worth it to try doing some yoga in your empty classroom. Spending just a few minutes on centering yourself can make it much easier to make it through to the end of the day without feeling too stressed. Just make sure you shut your door first!
For more top tips on how to reduce your stress levels as a teacher, check out one of our previous posts - How to Reduce Your Stress Levels as a Teacher
Find a Therapist
Teachers of all ages go through so much nowadays. As confidants for your students as well as mandatory reporters, if you hear of any abuse or misdoings, you’re already under a lot of stress even before you get to the actual work of teaching. Having someone to talk to is incredibly important for self-care, but can be difficult to find without betraying confidences. Finding a therapist might seem like a lot of work, but it can do you a lot of good in the short and the long run.
You cannot compromise yourself if you want to be able to do your best for your students. Although it can be hard, putting yourself and your health first is essential and if you don't find yourself making time for you, this needs to change!