The driving force of my blog is to help educators recognize their reality and make a genuine effort to not only overcome it, but better themselves in the process.
Something I haven’t share with you is that my current teaching reality is tough. I love my kids with my whole heart, but some days I go home feeling defeated. I’m not saying this to complain, I’m saying this because I have to be honest with myself about my current situation. That sounds easy, but for me it has been hard.
To give a little perspective, I’m one of those teachers that always feels like I have a solid grip on my life. I feel good about my classroom management and my students’ academic progress. I hold my students to the highest expectations and they usually meet them. I feel like I’ve got everything under control. So, it has been really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I actually don’t have everything under control. My reality is hard to handle some days and every now and then it brings me to my knees.
I have wept in my alone time and felt completely helpless. I have lost hope. I have felt numb and even stopped feeling altogether. I have felt all the things you’re not supposed to admit to feeling when you’re a professional trying to excel at your job. But how am I supposed to gain back control if I can’t admit where I’m at in my journey? How can I make amends?
I’ve come to realize that my starting point to regaining what I’ve lost is self-care. I need to make myself whole again before I can be a beacon of light for children. I have to make myself a priority, and I’m sure you do too.
First step to regaining control of my life: Self-care.
What does self-care actually mean? I’m sure everyone would answer that question differently, but the most important thing is that you find what works for you. As a teacher in school full-time with a child under two, self-care seems like more of a dream than a reality. So, I have to find a reasonable solution- something that allows me to take care of my responsibilities while also making myself a priority.
I had to really soul search to figure out what fits into this category and I’m not totally living it yet, but I hope I can help you take a shortcut by offering some suggestions. As I get better at incorporating these strategies into my life, I would love to hear your success stories as well.
18 Self-Care Practices to Start Tomorrow
- Write 3 statements of gratitude a day for 30 days. You will actually train your brain to think more positively.
- Make date-night a regular occurrence. Whether it’s your significant other or that guy from Bumble, take the opportunity to let loose. If it goes well, that’s great! If it doesn’t, it will make for a great story at lunch tomorrow.
- Journal. Get the clutter out of your brain and put it on paper. It is your blank canvas, write whatever your heart desires.
- Exercise. Endorphins. Yada-Yada-Yada. If we’re all being honest, don’t you feel like you could conquer the world after a good workout? Go. Do. It.
- Drink an adult beverage. I know we’re all held to a higher moral standard and it’s only Tuesday, but seriously, order the beer. Or whatever drink you fancy. Other professions order a beer at lunch while you just hope you can use the restroom. Go live your best life without conviction.
- Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. This is for those of you who don’t want the beer. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.
- Dive into a book or a TV series. My alter ego is Khaleesi from Game of Thrones. Or basically all females that take over the world. I feel empowered by their achievements. No matter your preference, step outside of your reality and live in someone elses for a while.
- Get a full 8 hours of sleep. Spoiler alert- Adequate sleep regulates YOUR ENTIRE BODY. Your brain, your emotions, literally everything. Be the adult that you are and go to bed earlier. Your favorite show and that random girl’s Facebook post will still be there tomorrow.
- Just sit. Don’t look at your phone or think about your to-do list. Just give your brain a rest.
- Make time for yoga or meditation. Check out Headspace for guided meditations. Everyone has 5-10 minutes they could take out of their day to practice mindfulness.
- Get dressed up, do your makeup and your hair. I don’t know about high schools, but elementary schools are filled with women. It’s the best excuse to look the exact opposite of your twenty year old self. With that being said, we could all benefit from putting on some actual eyeliner and our most flattering jeans. Get done up and feel good about the way you look!
- Take a day off work. Oops! I said it. We’re in a profession where we feel so needed. Have you ever thought about scheduling that doctor’s appointment at noon and not taking a half day? Please, take the day. The school will not burn down in your absence.
- Get crafty. Whether it’s DIY or those painting classes (where I’m sure everyone drinks wine), find your niche that explores your creative side. It’s easy to say, “I’m not creative,” but you’d be surprised what you’re capable of once you try.
- Take a weekend trip. Your significant other is capable of watching the kids and your roommate probably won’t kill your dog. Delegate some responsibilities and take the weekend to decompress.
- Take deep breaths. Literally applicable anywhere, anytime.
- Set boundaries. Educators are people-pleasers. We take our job seriously, but you need to take yourself just as serious. Define your limits and learn when to say no.
- See a therapist. I know, it’s such a taboo subject, but wouldn’t everyone benefit from venting to a professional that can actually give sound advice? Just saying- your insurance might even cover the cost.
- Drink more water. Basically on par with my “adequate sleep” recommendation. Water affects EVERYTHING. Buy a Yeti and make it a classroom job to fill it up. It’s that easy.
Starting your self-care plan next week is too long to wait. Pick your top three and start them tomorrow. Don’t forget to share your progress with me!