Things Teachers Don't Learn in School - #2 Self Care

On the days that you feel your best, what have you done to reach that feeling? Can you identify the things that help you function at your ideal state? I had one of those days yesterday, where I felt like I had done right by me.

Morning- Got a great night's sleep and felt well rested going into the day.
Day- Maintained a positive attitude, despite a long day and ate a healthy lunch.
Afternoon- Spent time on the phone with my younger brother. Rehydrated!
Evening- Made a healthy dinner with my husband and then had a great 2 hour workout at the karate school.

For me, self-care means taking care of myself by eating healthy, staying hydrated, working out, and spending time with my friends and family. On a day that I do that, I feel incredible!

What do you mean you didn't learn that?
I am sure at some point during my education I was told how exhausting teaching would be, mentally and physically. I am sure someone told me that it was very common for teachers to get sick in their first few years teaching. I am also sure that no one told me to schedule time in my week to take care of myself. I know that no one told me to make sure that each week, despite my professional commitments, that I needed to make sure I was working out and drinking enough water. I wish someone had stressed that to me early in my career and I hope I can pass the message along to new teachers. I think my first 3 years would have been a tiny bit easier if I had understood the importance of self-care. I, like many teachers, give so much of myself to my school community, that I need to make sure I am functioning at my best.

So what's the point?
When I read a post or listen to a book about self-care, I always see something along the lines of "you can't take care of others, if you don't take care of yourself" and it's so true. As educators, we tend to prioritize taking care of the people around us (students, colleagues, family, etc) and neglect what we need to be our best self. This year I have a number of students who I see doing this very thing. They spend all their time and energy on the clubs, sports, and classes they are involved in and then they get sick, exhausted, and drained. They aren't able to do their best because they aren't taking care of themselves.

We need to model for our students what it looks like to be the best version of ourselves by practicing good self-care. If we don't show them how to do it and teach the importance of it, then we continue to perpetuate the issue.


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