Workout your self-care muscles {Part 2}


Complete a nagging task

I don’t know about you, but I’m hitting that time of year where there are lots of piles all over my classroom.  I spent some time before Thanksgiving break actually figuring out what they were and moved them to other areas of my classroom so that I could worry about them later and make my room look a little more tidy.  I didn’t completely get rid of the pile, but it felt great to walk into my classroom with a little less clutter greeting me glaringly when I opened up the door after break.

Although you may not realize it, this is self-care.  I took the time to do something that made me feel better instead of pushing it aside to attend to someone else’s needs in that moment.  I stayed later at school and didn’t rush home right away so that I could take care of some really nagging tasks. I literally set a timer and got to work.  I left when the timer went off and during that time was completely focused on getting my room more organized than before.

This was completely therapeutic for me and I absolutely consider it self-care.  First, it’s something that no one else can do for me. I’m the only one who knows where I want certain papers to go or how to organize my classroom set of books.  I know it’s not a glamorous form of self-care but when I take the time to just go through and purge all of the things that have been collecting dust, left out in a corner, or been stacked on a table there is a certain lightness in my step.

Our whole premise for this series is that when motivation is low, motivation follows action rather than the other way around.  When you put the action first, motivation follows. We are waking up our brain centers by working out our self-care muscles with small, mindful actions. 

Last week we did something for pleasure or fun.  This week we are doing something that gives us a sense of mastery, satisfaction, achievement or control.

For me that meant staying a little late, setting a timer and quickly cleaning my room.  For others it could be a timed marathon email writing event. Some teachers would prefer a block of time devoted to entering grades.  Honestly, it doesn’t have to be any of those things. It could be that you have something that would give you a sense of satisfaction or achievement at home.  Do that thing, whatever it may be. This week.

The idea is to get a small win under your belt.  When you take these tiny steps, your brain registers these successes and they begin to add up.  Remember, the task doesn’t need to be organizing all of your shelves and cabinets or getting all of your holiday shopping done, wrapped and mailed.  Instead of looking at the whole project, what is the smallest step you can get into action with a task? Do that thing. Perhaps if you do the one thing first, then the next thing will follow, then the next and so on. 

This Week’s Action:

Do something that will give you a sense of satisfaction and mastery in your life.

Try these steps:

  • Compile the to do lists.
  • Pause and think about what tasks have been festering. 
  • Take the smallest step to beginning or finishing a task.

When tasks add up we can begin to feel helpless.  By taking small steps, we begin to communicate with the deepest aspect of ourselves that we may not be as helpless as we thought.  One way to workout our self-care muscles is to experience these little wins! 

You may not completely finish the task, but you will be moving in the direction you want to go.

Check in at We are Teaching Well, reply to this blog or talk to a trusted friend or colleague.  You never know, your small action could be the motivation that others need to move forward with their own self-care journey!

I can’t wait to hear about your actions toward self-care this week.  And I also look forward to your holiday feedback.  And please consider  Click here to access the VERY SHORT survey to make your voice heard!  Remember all participants will be entered into a drawing for a prize awarded at the end of the month…just in time for the holidays!!


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