As a teacher, my days can be quite busy. As one of my colleagues says, “You always have to be on..” as a teacher. Every move you make, every word you say can be endlessly scrutinized, even recorded and sent around the school! Along with this comes the intense pressure of making sure your students are doing what they need to do, mentally healthy, and have still have positive feelings about the class, so it can be quite overwhelming at times.
My keys for self-care center on trying to find a balance between things. Some days it is almost impossible to do this, but I have to find some time during the day to check in with myself, do something for my continued growth and development, and have some quality family time, otherwise things can get really tough.
Key #1 – Keeping burnout at bay – Burnout can really toast your nervous system. It is not always the overwhelmed type, but just the slow burn of your nerves constantly being on alert. After days on end of this, the slightest thing may set you off, or you may begin to feel negatively about yourself or those around you. For me, morning exercise and evening walks are critical in this pursuit. I need to get out of my box for a while, experience some of the good things in life and find some perspective in order to complete my weekly tasks with something left in the tank. I also play baseball, softball, and ski/snowboard in the winter to help with this.
Key #2 – Family and Friends – Sometimes it is hard to have meaningful connection with family and friends when everyone is super busy, but these are the times it is most important. Playing a video game with my son, asking my daughter about her art, or watching a movie with my girlfriend each day can really help reduce some of that low-grade stress. Checking in with friends on social media, calling my parents at least once a week, visiting once a month, all help me keep things in balance.
Key #3 – Regular Medical Care – No one likes going to the doctor, but it is essential to keeping yourself healthy. I have an insurance plan for critical illness that gives me back $75 a year for getting a routine physical, which actually works pretty well for me. Regular dental visits are also vitally important as well as mental health checkups.
Key #4 – Setting Goals and Rewarding Myself – I am a very goal oriented person, but I still need to have some sort of reward for all that hard work. It may be a vacation, it may be giving myself permission to take a morning or afternoon off to play golf with friends. It may be going fishing after work or after getting chores done. I think this is vitally important to reinforcing positive habits. It is nice when others recognize your accomplishments and you get some sort of recognition or reward for it, but it is easier to be consistent with good habits when you reward yourself regularly. It could just be a moment where you think some positive thoughts about yourself or anything that brings your attention back to reflect on achieving your goal in a positive way.
Anyway, that is my take on self-care….I hope you found in interesting or useful. Feel free to ask questions if you have any, I have pretty extensive training/education in this area as a veteran high-school teacher. Also, a big thanks to all of you that have liked, followed and subscribed to my site. I have only been doing this for a month in a more dedicated fashion and have really enjoyed connecting with you all!