Dear Teachers, thank you for being our children’s cheerleaders, nurses, life-skill givers, role models, hope givers, and coaches. Did I mention educators? You wear many hats and give so much of yourself to your students. Thank you.
But what about you? What are you leaving for yourself? How are you making sure your cup is full? What are your self-care practices? Here are a few extra you may want to add.
Ask for Help
Create space to question what areas of your life need additional support. Do you need to ask another teacher or class parent for assistance? Do you need help from family and friends at home? What about attending a training or conference to help you develop as an educator?
If you work at a school where parents are not able to help, then consider contacting a local church. Ask if one of their Bible classes or small groups would be willing to be a local, strategic partner with your classroom. Share the specific needs in your classroom. (If you are reading this and are not a teacher then think about how you or your community could partner with a classroom if that fits in with you own self-care practice).
Name a specific item that would help to free up time to take care of you. Then ask for help.
Check in with your body
Do you need to eat nutritious foods, get more sleep, or exercise? Do you need to find another teacher to watch your class so you can take a much-needed bathroom break? What about simply taking a deep breath in the middle of a chaotic day?
Set your daily intention
List the reasons you are a teacher. What values, passions, and personal strengths led you to this field? Use this list to clarify your intentions for every school day. You might also consider creating artwork that visualizes your intention.
Here is an example of what this daily intention could look like, “I am passionate about helping children find their own learning style and discover their incredible abilities. I am skilled at creating a safe environment where every child can learn to be their true self.” Post it somewhere visible and set your daily intention.
Create an end of day ritual
This is one way to strengthen boundaries between work and the rest of your life. You may laugh off the idea of leaving work at work. Yes, I recognize how grading, lesson plans, and school extracurriculars impact your schedule. On the other hand, if there is any way for you to create a space between your workload and your personal life then begin to implement an end of day ritual.
These rituals are anything you can do to close out your workday. Here are some ideas of how you can leave work after the bell rings (or after you finish your lesson plans hours after the bell rings):
· Walk the perimeter of your classroom and say a prayer for your students.
· Do a yoga pose or stretch.
· Rub a favorite lotion into your hands.
· Listen to an audiobook on the way home (I listened to all the Harry Potter audiobooks on the way home from my counseling internship and it was a great).
· Implement a five-minute meditation.
· Turn off notifications for work emails on your phone.
· Meet another teacher for a lap or two around the school or track.
· Write down one “win” for the day.
I hope this helps you in your self-care practices. If you are ready to add going to counseling as self-care practice and are in Nashville, then feel free to contact me at Jessica@JessicaMcCoyCounseling.com to schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation.