Explore self-care strategies to battle teacher burnout, and rediscover your inner superhero to bring excitement and creativity back into your classroom.
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SELF-CARE TIPS FOR TEACHERS
Professor Gail Kinman, a chartered psychologist and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, shares three tips a day for the five days of the working week on things that you can do to de-stress and promote a healthy mind, body and soul.
It’s a universally acknowledged truth that no one likes Mondays, so you need tobegin your day calmly.
- Try relaxing for two minutes before your students arrive in the morning. Visualise the day ahead going as well as possible because this is good for the soul.
- At the first break of the day step out of auto-pilot and clear your mind by eating a piece of fruit mindfully. Focus on the experience of eating without multi-tasking or your mind wandering.
- After work or during lunch go for a walk on your own. Focus on what you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel. Don’t use the time to make plans or dwell on problems.
Tuesday is a good day to pay attention to the early signs that you are becoming stressed.
- Think about how the week is going and watch for things that are starting to worry you. This will help you spot your trigger points and take remedial action.
- Half way through the day, why not reduce muscle tension? Tense your shoulders without straining, then relax while breathing deeply. Feel the stress fading away.
- Tuesday should be a day for forgiveness. Most of us store up many negative emotions that could be released by forgiving ourselves and others.
You’re bang in the middle of the week and making sure you feel refreshed is important; sleep is vital.
- Avoid the enemies of sleep. Keep a regular sleep schedule, have a relaxing bedtime routine, eat healthily and get regular exercise.
- Try the three-minute breathing space during lunchtime. Sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Your mind will wander, gently bring it back.
- You could also take a five-minute lunchtime vacation. Picture yourself in the most relaxing place you can imagine. You will feel more refreshed on your return.
The best medicine for a happy Thursday is laughter; have a giggle with colleagues or listen to your favourite comedy show.
- Laughing has wide-ranging benefits, improving cardiovascular health and helping you connect with others so start the day with a chuckle.
- Challenge negative self-talk. Work on reducing the “should/shouldn’t/must” statements to reduce stress and increase confidence.
- Identify a buffer zone. Respite from work demands is essential for health and performance. What can you do after work to help you recover?
When Friday arrives it is time to switch off that mental filter. You’re almost at the weekend and it’s time to relax and wind down from work.
- Make sure you eat regularly and stay hydrated. This is particularly important (but less likely) when we are busy and stressed.
- Think positive. Focusing on your negative traits and behaviours means that you turn a blind eye to your positive qualities.
- Make a list of things that help you relax. Then choose one and do it without feeling guilty.
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your your spirit it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” - Eleanor Brownn