Have you ever had a nagging feeling that keeps you awake at night? Have you had a voice in your head saying you didn't do enough to reach all students, or you didn't spend enough time with your family? Have you ever sat at your child's soccer game, but you were mentally creating the upcoming week's lesson plans?
These are all scenarios I think every educator can relate to. I used to have mommy guilt when I was at work and work guilt at home. Both left me feeling like I wasn't enough.
What's the remedy?
Engage in Emotional Self-Care
“Once you've fixed the small things that consume your emotional and mental energy, you may be surprised to find you suddenly have time for the things you enjoy” - Luschka van Onselen
15 Self-Care Tips that Bring Back Peace & Calm Your Mind
Start your day with an activity that helps you feel regulated (Examples: breathing, meditation, stillness).
Find opportunities for movement that regulate your nervous system (Examples: walking, dance, yoga).
Practice self-compassion (Change negative self-talk to supportive. For example, instead of I'm not doing enough, celebrate what you have accomplished.
Accept the range of emotions that arise during the day without judgment.
When feeling off (dysregulated), stop & "change the channel". Do something different that brings back balance.
Reread favorite books or watch favorite movies.
Identify and seek out comforting activities, people, and places. (This is not to be confused with comfort, binge eating, which I've done. It makes you feel worse in the end.)
Allow yourself to cry. (I love the emotional release of a good cry.)
Find things that make you laugh. (When I went through a sad season, my friend brought me a series of I Love Lucy DVDs to make me laugh. It was healing.)
Ask for help. (I know this is a hard one for many, but oh so rewarding & healthy.)
Seek professional support when needed.
Engage in support groups.
Feel proud of yourself. Celebrate progress.
Build in time to do things you enjoy and generate positive emotions. Examples: puzzles, hobbies, baking, listening to music, playing an instrument, drawing, coloring, gardening (I love to fuss with flowers. Bright blooms and the sunny spaces exude positive emotions.)
Incorporate grounding techniques when overwhelmed. Examples: deep breathing, body scans, muscle relaxation, rhythmic activities, warm shower, scents such as lavender
I like to think of these tips as a toolbox. I could have used these tools when I first started teaching and when I was a new parent. Instead, I had to learn the hard way. I used to get so overwhelmed and stressed out that my neck muscles would tighten and lock my head in a sideways position. It took professionals to mobilize my head. The trouble was that their work wasn't lasting because I didn't have the tools to be calm and spend the stress-energy in productive ways. I was an emotional rubber band ready to snap.
The good news is you have the tools to bring you peace and rid guilt of not being enough or being fully present. You have the power to be present.
If you're wondering what you need for self-care, you can take this self-care assessment to guide you. Then, you can read the rest of this blog series to find activities that meet your needs. Next, one day at a time, and one step at a time, implement a tip, and you'll be on your way to a balanced, peaceful life with no more tossing and turning between the sheets.
This article is part 4 of a 7 part blog series.
You can read the others here:
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. 😊🌟😊
I'm cheering 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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