Lately, I’ve been talking with some of my teacher friends about self-care. Some had great ideas, others said, “What is that?” As teachers, self-care is something we put off until we have time, but during the school year, who has time to start something new?
If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how about using this summertime to pick up a few good habits that you can hopefully maintain into the school year? Here are a few self-care tips for teachers that I (and other friends) find helpful.
This is the number one self-care practice for me, because by nature, I’m a very impatient and fidgety person. If I don’t move around enough, I get cranky, I have brain fog, and I just lose motivation to do anything. Plus, I just LOVE to eat, so it’s kind of important that I burn off some of that food!
2. Take time away for yourself
Whether you are a parent, in a relationship with a non-teacher, or just explaining to your non-teacher friends why you feel so drained sometimes, it is exhausting to always have to be “on” for other people. Take time away just for you, whether that is a night out with friends, a date with your significant other, an athletic event you love, or an hour for a spa treatment. Just don’t forget about yourself! (I try to get a facial or a massage when I can, because nothing is more relaxing than that! I just ask for gift cards for my bday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. so that I can actually afford it once in a while.)
3. Have quiet time each day
Following on number 2, try to find a few minutes of quiet time each day. This isn’t easy when you have family, friends, neighbors, pets, or anyone else who demands your attention. Find a time where you can have that cup of coffee or glass of your favorite drink in the calm. For me, that means waking up before everyone, and it’s worth it to start my day with a quiet cup of coffee on my porch before the demands of the day start. Taking care of my family means taking care of myself first.
4. Get help where you can
When I first started teaching, one of the things I did at home was wash and iron all of our clothes which often took hours of my time each week. When we could afford it, we started taking things to the dry cleaners. Whether it’s paying someone to mow your grass, dry clean your clothes, babysit your kiddo so you can have a few hours alone, or finding a food delivery service, just getting a little extra help can be so worth it. There are services for many different budgets, and you can swap out a service for another splurge (like a daily coffee run).
Two other huge time-savers that aren’t always expensive :
– Food delivery – Depending on where you live, you can have some or all groceries delivered for a small fee. When I’m exhausted, I’ll get an occasional delivery of fruits and vegetables, and the fee is not much more than what I would pay at the store plus a few dollars for gas. To keep fresh food at home, it’s a great deal!
– Lawn mowing – we have a lot of Boy Scouts in my neighborhood who will do this for a good price. The lawn is a killer for my allergies and asthma, so I get help when my husband can’t get to it.
5. Cook a nice meal
Maybe that doesn’t sound relaxing. Maybe you hate to cook. Maybe you just don’t have time to cook. All great reasons to skip this one! However, I know a lot of people who love to cook and just get too busy during the week. If this describes you, maybe you could pre-prep a few meals on the weekend so that you don’t have to do much when you come home during the week. (I also love my crockpot!)
6. Get outside
Try having your morning coffee outside, taking a short walk before or after school, or riding your bike to lunch on the weekend.
7. Clean your house
Before you think, “What?!?” and call me crazy, keep reading. Some people find cleaning a bit meditative and some don’t, but most of us can appreciate a tidy, organized space. I love it when my kitchen is sparkly, my floor is mopped, or my bed is newly changed. If a clean house is part of your comfort zone, knock out one area and just enjoy it. If you can’t get to the whole house, really clean one spot and enjoy it!
8. Snuggle with your pet
Just like giving yourself permission to relax and do anything else, really taking time to love on an animal is so calming. My little assistant is always by my side. 🙂
9. Unplug from social media
This one is so hard for me, but I really do feel so much better when I step away from the computer, the phone, and all social media. It’s so easy to spend too much time worrying about what is going on out in the world and not living in the moment you’re actually in.
10. Read a good book or take some time to binge-watch.
It’s okay to do this. Really. I love to read more than anything, but sometimes that is just too much energy. TV marathons are sometimes the way I can slow down my too-busy brain. 🙂
Speaking of, if you have a great show I should watch or book I should read, please share names! I’m needing something new here. French or English is great! I don’t really have a preference.