You might often feel exhausted after a day at work. Managing your workload may be a challenge. It may feel like you don't have time for self-care. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but you'll have more energy to conquer your work when you focus on your wellbeing during your workday. And you'll do it more efficiently. Because you're faster, you'll have more time to do what you love.
I know firsthand this to be true. I used to work and work without a break. I didn't have a duty-free lunch when I was an elementary general education teacher. As a result, I always felt rushed eating. I was so busy helping kids with their lunch and correcting behavior that workplace self-care wasn't even on my radar. I gobbled my lunch so quickly that I didn't have time to savor the flavor or chew mindfully. It left me tense and full of indigestion. So, I get it.
Stress less. Enjoy life more. 😃
What did I do? I couldn't change my work circumstances, but I could incorporate self-care. I set boundaries with the students, so they knew to give me a few minutes to eat my lunch. I chewed mindfully. I set up a buddy system with a colleague. I watched her class and my class during lunch so she could break away. The following day, she did the same for me. We set up a support system, allowing a break every other day. Now that's workplace self-care.
Now, I'm a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teacher to 700 students. While I have a duty-free lunch, I have little time between classes. Therefore, I purposefully pause. I take ten deep breaths before each new class arrives. Doing this helps relieve tense muscles and stress. It makes me the best I can be for each class.
Self-care doesn't have to be a big elaborate plan or event. It can happen in just a few minutes.
Educator Self-Care at Work
Did you know? On average, a person spends more than one-third of their day at work five days a week!
Self-care is essential to weave throughout the day, including at work. Take a little time throughout the day to prioritize yourself.
Help reduce stress
Prevent chronic disease
Help you maintain a healthy lifestyle
12 Workplace Self-Care Activities that Transform Your Life, Work, & Health
Take time to eat lunch.
Take time to chat with coworkers.
Create a workspace with things that inspire you.
Build in brief periods of relaxation & regulation throughout your day. (No time? Do it with your students. They benefit from the break too. 😊)
Pace yourself between stressful activities & do something fun after something hard.
Pursue regular learning & professional development.
Ask for what you need to be able to do your work successfully. For example, tech. support, resources, emotional support.
Seek guidance & support from colleagues.
Set reasonable expectations of yourself & others.
Take a "self-compassion" break. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate your progress no matter how small. It's still progress. 😊
Focus on your strengths as you struggle through new things.
Create some separation between work & home. (Work-life balance)
To commit to self-care throughout your career is to value yourself, your relationships, and your professional work.
Workplace/Professional is one of six elements of self-care. You can read about the others here.
Are you taking care of your professional wellbeing? Take this quick quiz & answer questions to get some tips on how you could improve your professional self-care.
Putting these professional self-care activities into practice will allow you to experience more work-life balance, work productivity, and less stress.
This article is part 7 of a 7 part blog series.
You can read the others here:
Self-Care Demystified: What is Self-Care & Why is it Important?
Psychological Self-Care- Educator Self-Care Activities that Provide Maximum Mental Health Results
Disclaimer: I'm not a therapist or counselor. I'm just passionate about busting through burnout because I've burned out while teaching & leading. Now, I'm on a mission to prevent others from going through what I went through. I want better for you. 😊🌟😊
You make a difference!
Learn about being STRONG & how to cultivate life-changing relationships with families and students in my new book. I share personal student stories and strategies for cultivating culture and community rooted in relationships. It's centered around amplifying all students' potential and unshakeable relationships that raise student achievement. Click here or the image to go to Amazon. 😃
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