Teachers new and old need to take time to care for themselves. Some teachers think it’s a right of passage to be tired out all the time. This simply should not and ought not be the case.
Being busy is normal, but being normal is not healthy.
Don’t let yourself get physically rundown, it will affect your emotions – you’ll be less patient with you students, it will affect you physically – your immune system will weaken. And, I’ll venture to guess that if you let yourself get run down physically and emotionally, you have also let yourself get run down spiritually and potentially spiritually sick too.
Take a lesson from the warnings on the plane, they tell you “in case of an emergency…put your own mask on first before assisting others. you might be able to help one person first, but if you take care of yourself first you will be able to help more and longer by getting your own oxygen. The same idea applies to your teaching life. When you take care of yourself first, you will be able to help more-better-longer.
They must be scheduled, planned and looked forward to.
I’m not talking about a quick fix — taking an afternoon off to go shopping or a super-sized ice cream sundae. What you need to be thinking about is something that can be a regular part of your life. Jogging, spending 15 minutes reading for yourself, journaling, taking 20 minutes to sit back and listen to music, getting fresh air, going fishing, or even taking a 20 minute nap. Some of these things might be actions you take daily, weekly, monthly, or on a seasonal rotation. But, they must be scheduled, planned and looked forward to. To be able to schedule and accomplish these kinds of self-care activities, you might need to prioritize you schedule. Being able to analyze what is most useful and do those things.
Do fewer things better.
You may need to connect a self-care habit with your regular routine so that it become automatic – develop a morning ritual that can be automated. I enjoy coffee, so my morning ritual involves getting up about an hour before I ‘need’ to. Here is my morning ritual: first, I make may coffee (sometimes with one eye closed), second I get my coaster ready and afghan if it’s the fall or winter, third I sit and meditate for 2-5 minutes until the coffee finishes brewing, fourth I get my coffee and do some reading from a Bible reading plan, fifth I spend time in prayer (often using the PrayerMate App ], and sixth the remaining time is spend reading something I want to read. Then it’s off to the races-waking the children, getting ready for work and driving off to school.
Focus on the habit of the habit
When you need to break a bad habit and start a new habit, it is important to spend time designing the habit. If you want to start a new routine that includes routine self-care habits, take some time to write it out, maybe even figuring it out by the minute and then start to execute it and begin a new good habit. You will need to reinforce that new habit, and be careful not to revert back to the old ways (especially in the beginning). If you tell yourself “just this one time” I’ll do the old bad habit – cause it feels so good, you will strengthen that bad habit. Brushing your teeth is a habit, but it wasn’t always that way. When I worked in a retail store my manager told me that you need to work five times hard to regain a customer than to maintain that relationship. I think the same thing applies to habits, you will need to work hard to develop a new healthy habit.