Do you feel like you can't go on another day in your current situation? Are you searching and scrolling the internet for jobs and careers you can do with a teaching degree that isn't teaching?
Stop! Read this before you exit education.
Teaching and leading are demanding. Teaching is the most stressful career tied with nursing. Stack unmet expectations, mandates and demands, substitute shortages, and student behavior challenges on top of an already stressful job. You have a recipe for burnout.
Now more than ever, educators need to prioritize their own well-being. You've heard it before, I'm sure. You can't take care of others until you take care of yourself. The truth is that most of you do take care of others before you take care of yourself because that's what teachers do. They give.
You go above and beyond to support your students and communities emotionally, socially, and intellectually. You give and give. So what gives? Usually, care for yourself. You know you need to do it, but it's easier said than done.
Relax. Breathe. I have good news.
I've gathered some simple self-care activities to calm your mind, bring you peace, and provide mental health results with less stress.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
Self-care isn't one more thing to do. Instead, it is an essential part of your rhythms & routines. It's a habit like brushing your teeth.
Self-Care has six elements:
I used to think self-care was just bubble baths and spa days. But it's so much more. When we understand our needs and the activities in each of the above categories, we are on a path to lasting wellness. Who doesn't want that?
Self-care activities are what you do to maintain good health and improve well-being.
Like you, I practiced some self-care habits. But I honestly didn't understand how to incorporate each element into a calm, vibrant life that allowed me to be present for my family. I threw so much of myself into my work that there wasn't anything left for those I loved. I burned out.
If you're not sure of your needs, take this self-care assessment.
The following activities can help you avoid burnout and breakthrough burnout. When you incorporate these and the other six elements of self-care into your life, you'll be more fulfilled. And, when you feel better, you are more likely to love what you do and stop searching for a way out of your job.
Self-Care Activities for your Mind
Make time for self-reflection ( I sit still and quiet by a fountain.)
Notice our inner experience--your dreams, thoughts, imagery, and feelings.
Recognize your signs of stress and dysregulation.
Be mindful of time spent watching the news or scanning social media.
Keep a journal to manage worries and note your thoughts and experiences.
Practice mindfulness techniques that strengthen self-awareness.
Establish cues like moments or visual reminders for practicing self-awareness. Example: Do deep breathing exercises before every meeting or do a mindfulness exercise every time you wash your hands.
Map your day & note the times you feel most stressed. Embed coping strategies into your daily routine.
Recognize what is and what isn't in your control.
Be on the lookout for negative self-talk and reframe it. For example: "Everything is terrible right now." Reframe: "This is a stressful time, but there are some things we're learning."
Do some new. Be a beginner at something.
Set goals that are reasonable & manageable.
Spend time outdoors
Be aware of your default coping patterns like binge eating, avoiding a problem, numbing out, or shutting down. Employ strategies that involve addressing an issue.
Notice things (people, circumstances, experiences) that set you off. These are called triggers. When you know your triggers, you can proactively plan to avoid them or prepare how to respond to them.
Set an intention for your day and check in on that intention throughout the day.
Remember, Self-care doesn't have to consume a lot of time.
Self-care doesn't have to be fancy face masks or a zen retreat. It's as simple as making time to do the things that calm you, like cleaning your sink every night before you go to bed if a dirty kitchen stresses you out. It's all about knowing what you need for your health and well-being. For example, I know I need to spend time outside each day and soak in silence & sun. Doing this activity only takes about 15 minutes a day to keep me centered.
Spend time on what makes you feel good and adds to your health & well-being.
Self-care isn't a cure-all, but it is a way to mitigate stress and burnout. Self-care is something you plan for, just like you plan lessons. So instead of scrolling the internet, begin with one or two activities a day. You'll be on your way to better health and vitality step by step. It becomes part of your life, so you're fulfilled instead of tired and stressed.
This article is part 3 of a 7 part blog series.
You can read the others here:
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. 😊🌟😊
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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