I know we all probably have off tomorrow; although, let’s be honest I’m a teacher and I know I’ve worked part of a Labor Day holiday or gone in over the weekend to finish things for the first weeks of school. That’s definitely a reality to get it “all done,” but for this year, I want to encourage you to keep your family and friends closer this year and allow your work to follow. Sure this is a busy season of teacher’s life. Perhaps the busiest.
So, if you are working more to try to catch up, please give yourself until the end of September. The busy season will be simmering down and you should try to too. This profession is consistently on track to lose more teachers than it gains and the pandemic isn’t making it any easier, so if you love what you do and you want to make it for the long haul, not just until the holiday break at the end of the year:
Please make your own self-care a priority in your daily plans.
I always want to be honest. I’m writing that line for myself as much as for you. I needed to be reminded this week that I needed to take my own medicine of not just finding time for those moments of self-care in my day, but practicing them.
I have been pretty good about not bringing work home, but during the day I’m just non-stop. And I can already feel it. Hunched over a computer. Trying to get everything online with kids sitting in front of me. Taking attendance for the kids at home while the kids in front of me patiently wait (wow, have kids been patient!) for me to move on to the next part of the lesson.
The saving grace in my situation has been taking all my students outside for mask breaks in the middle of our daily 90 minutes together. Sunshine. Free breathing. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when it’s the middle of winter, but honestly we’ll probably just put on those jackets and do laps around the building to keep warm!
So anyway, I know my situation may not match yours. All of us are finding ourselves with different types of classroom realities. But none of us can say that we DON’T need to build in those moments of self-care into our days. We all need time to regroup and recharge, so that we can do that courageous work of educating our world’s children.
In that spirit, I wanted to offer you 4 simple self-care solutions to seamlessly integrate these self-care moments into your busy days:
Take five minutes each morning to bring some focus and clarity to your day.
Write down your intention for the day and keep it somewhere you will see it.
Mentally reflect or do a quick five minute judgment-free recap of your day.
Do something to make a transition between your work day and your personal time.
This week, I’d like to give you a little overview of the solutions. In the weeks that follow, look for a deeper dive into each self-care solution, complete with guided mindfulness practices and other suggested activities to easily find time for these self-care solutions.
Take five minutes each morning to bring some focus and clarity to your day. This is the time to just sit quietly, focus on your breathing or sound…not time to be planning and making mental to-do lists. Just take five minutes for quiet each morning and see how your days start to shift.
Before your first class, write down your intention for the day and keep it somewhere you will see it. Writing down an intention is a way to create focus around a certain aspect of your day or your behavior. It is more important to begin working with intentions than if you do them perfectly. Write down the same daily intention if it’s something you really want to commit to.
At the end of your day mentally reflect or do a quick five minute judgment-free recap of your day. This can be done mentally or formally written. End each reflection with writing down one thing you are grateful for in your day, however small it seems, write it down. I like to write this down in the same notebook as my intention writing.
Do something to make a transition between your work day and your personal time. This can be a simple five minute quiet time exercise or a walk around the block. It could be going for a run if you have more time or sitting in your car and listening to your favorite song before heading home. Whatever it is, commit to getting in the habit of making a firm distinction between your work life and your home life.