I get it.
Teaching is TOUGH. Not just anyone can be a teacher. Some days you feel on top of things like you are winning all over the place. Other days you feel like a giant ball of stress running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
As a teacher, you find yourself giving 110% to your students and realize you have left little to no time for taking care of yourself. How can you be the best version of yourself for your students if you aren’t prioritizing taking care of yourself?
Self-care is the act of taking care of one’s self, which isn’t always easy for teachers to remember to do. It’s okay, I’m here to help you with your self-care!
Here are 10 self-care tips for teachers:
1. Establish a relaxing morning routine
Mornings can so easily become stressful and hectic if you let them.
You never know when you’ll have a bad night’s sleep, wake up not feeling good or you are trying to pack your lunch and your cat jumps into your lunch box and pees in it…yes, this really did happen to me one morning.
I recommend creating an easy, breezy morning routine so you can practice self-care, relax, and start your day off on the right foot.
For me, I would give myself an hour and 15 minutes to get ready every morning so I had time to eat a proper breakfast and watch TV while I put on makeup.
Your routine can be anything you need it to be, but the most important thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you wake up on time and give yourself enough time to get ready without being rushed. This will put you in a good mindset to tackle your day and greet your students with a smiling face.
2. Spend time with positive, uplifting fellow teachers
Y’all teaching can be incredibly difficult and take a lot out of us. For some teachers, they turn into chronic complainers that drag down everyone else around them. I’m sure reading that someone instantly came to your mind!
You should avoid these coworkers when you can. I know that sounds bad, but if someone is constant doom, gloom, and complaints, no conversation you have with them will change that. Trust me, been there, done that.
Instead, spend your time with others who uplift you and help make you a better teacher. If you are being uplifted by others, you’ll be in a better mood and your students will benefit from you being the best teacher you can be.
3. Leave the work at school
Okay, so I am fully aware that this one is usually WAY easier said than done. Sometimes you have things you couldn’t get to during your hectic day that you feel absolutely have to be done before the next day.
I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. I’m so sorry, but I mean that in the nicest way possible!
A lot of what you take home to work on and stress out over can usually wait, even if you don’t feel like it can. As teachers, we tend to take everything on and go WAY above and beyond. Don’t get me wrong, that is great and our students benefit from us going the extra mile, BUT what good is that if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and run down?
Nothing good comes from it, I promise.
I want you to challenge yourself for this next week to leave work at work and do something in the evenings after school that is just for you. You deserve the break and I know your family would love to spend some uninterrupted time with you.
Want to make your life easier? Check out this post on How to Use Google Slides Templates to have pre-created slides for your lessons and presentations!
4. Make the most of your weekends
Okay, so I know you won’t be able to achieve this every weekend because sometimes work really is that crazy busy, BUT you should be making the most of your weekends and practicing some self-care.
For the weekend, leave the work at school. You need time to rest, recharge, experience life, and spend time with your family.
I know it may seem hard or you might feel guilty, but the work really can wait over the weekend. The world won’t fall apart while you enjoy your weekend.
If I were you, I would make plans ahead of time for the weekend that you will look forward to all week. It will help you make sure you spend the weekend practicing self-care and enjoying life.
5. Drink plenty of water and don’t forget to eat!
Everyone is always so shocked to learn that I don’t like coffee, but most teachers show up in the morning with the biggest coffee cups that Starbucks offers. Starting your day with coffee helps to caffeinate you, but it also dehydrates you.
I have always been an avid water drinker. If you complain to me that you are tired, don’t feel good or anything, the first thing I will ask you is if you have had any water for the day or when is the last time you drank some.
Drinking water is SO important while teaching! You are on your feet 90% of the day and moving a lot. Not drinking enough water will contribute to you feeling exhausted and sore by the end of the day.
Also, make sure you eat! You’ll get a headache, feel foggy and frustrated if you don’t eat. Bring lunch obviously, but also pack a few quick snacks you grab to eat while you are teaching.
You will be no good to your students if you aren’t fueling yourself properly.
6. Take breaks when you need them
The second school I worked as a teacher in frowned on teachers taking breaks. They also liked to schedule you for PLC times, random meetings and PD things during almost every single conference period, 5 days a week, which meant most days you only got your 20-minute lunch break. If you were lucky, someone didn’t come bug you during that time, but usually I wasn’t so lucky.
It was so bad if you called someone to watch your class for 5 minutes to use the restroom, they would purposely not show up until hours later. If you’re a woman, you know this can be a problem, if you know what I’m saying.
It got so bad at this school that I basically stopped drinking water at all while working because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go, which just lead to a slew of health issues.
I didn’t last long at that school, but in my time there, I learned how important it is to take breaks.
If you need to eat lunch alone in your classroom to have 30 minutes of peace and quiet to relax, do it! If you need to take 5 minutes before a meeting starts to use the restroom or catch your breath, do it!
You are human and need to take care of yourself. Don’t ever let another coworker, admin or anyone make you feel guilty for it. After all, you are your only advocate and need to do what is best for you.
[bctt tweet=”Teachers need self-care so they can be the best teachers they can be.” username=”mytayloredclass”]
7. Give yourself regular days off
I used to be the WORST at this!
I would never, ever take a day off. It didn’t matter how badly I needed it, I would feel too guilty if I took a day off.
Even if I could convince myself to take the day off, I would spend the entire day with my phone and email glued to me so I could make sure I didn’t miss anything. If I got a text or an email about needing to deal with something, I would beat myself up for being off work and not at school.
Taking a day off can be a form of self-care. If your mind and body are telling you you need a break, then take the break!
Teachers go above and beyond, [and then some], on a regular basis, which often leads to burn out. You have PTO days for a reason. Use them!
Here is what I suggest: whatever planner you use for the school year, block out an entire school year’s worth of days off. Now, I’m not saying you have to go crazy or use all of them. Schedule a few here and there for yourself at times when you know you are likely to feel burnout or have something special in your personal life you would like to do.
I’m telling you, it’s OKAY to take a day off here and there to take care of yourself and it’s one of the best forms of self-care we can do for ourselves as teachers.
8. Keep a journal by your bed
When I was still working in a school, do you know what one of my biggest struggles was? I never was able to fall asleep because I could never turn off my teacher brain.
It drove me nuts! I was always exhausted because I could never sleep after working a 13+ hour day since my mind was always running with all of the things I needed to do the next day or stressing for the next IEP meeting I had to run.
I FINALLY helped this problem by keeping a journal next to my bed. Before I laid down to go to sleep, I would spend 5-10 minutes doing a brain dump and writing down everything that was on my mind and everything I needed to remember for the next day.
This helped because what I was thinking and worrying about was now on paper. I didn’t need to stress myself out trying to remember everything because it was on paper now.
I recommend either keeping a few pieces of paper or using this as an excuse to go to Home Goods to buy a new, cute little notebook to keep on your nightstand.
9. Prepare for the next day the night before
I have always been so big on this!
Mornings can be really stressful and throw off your entire day in the blink of an eye. You never know when you’ll struggle to wake up after a terrible night’s sleep or have traffic happen that makes you late to work.
A big way you can positively impact your mornings and make your life a little bit easier is by getting ready for the next day the night BEFORE.
You should prep your coffee maker, get your outfit laid out, pack your lunch, and have your bags all ready to go. This way in the morning you won’t be running around like a chicken with your head cut off to remember to grab everything you need.
Stressed about teaching virtually this school year? Let me make your life easier with my Virtual Teaching Bundles. Each bundle includes a printable online teaching backdrop, Google Slides templates, and Google Headers.
10. Do something for YOU every single day
When you are working, you are giving so much of yourself and energy to your job, and being a teacher myself, I know that means you are left doing very little for yourself.
Do you know that saying you can’t pour from an empty cup? How can you be the best version of YOU and the best teacher you can be if your cup is empty?
It is critical, and I mean CRITICAL, you do something for yourself every single day.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. Maybe take a relaxing bath when you get home or curl up on the couch with your significant other to watch a movie and drink a glass of wine.
Decide what helps you relax and feel happy and do something every day for YOU.