Teachers Self Care A Guide for 21st Century Teachers ABEA

Self Care Tips For Teachers

As teachers, more often than not, we are always thinking about the needs of others rather than ourselves. So our students, parents, colleagues, and the school community are always more important than us. I did this for years myself until I realised that I could never contribute completely and sufficiently to the learning process in the classroom unless I was able to put my best foot forward at all times. Having said that, I couldn't be at 100% all the time, could I?

When we talk about self-care, it always reminds me of the analogy of traveling on a plane - “In the event of an eventuality, put your mask on before you help anyone else." It is important to look after yourself and your needs before you can support others, especially the children in your care. Therefore, you are not being selfish if you take care of yourself - in fact, it is just the opposite.

But how exactly do you go about doing it? Here are simple things that you can do that have worked for me and should work for you as well. Like our children use abbreviations as a memory technique I usually also like using one, so here is “ PAT ON THE BACK”

P

Practice Healthy Habits:

Water, balanced meals, sleep, and exercise are healthy habits. Physical health improves mental health. These practices keep you stable, strong, and regulated.

A

Always have realistic deadlines:

Too many tasks, yes. Teach, answer questions, check homework, and more. Private school teachers have never-ending responsibilities. Because there's a lot to do, don't set unrealistic deadlines. Firstly, no matter how much you may miss deadlines sometimes. Second, rushing reduces efficiency but increases stress levels.

T

Trust a support system:

At home and work create a support system on whom you can lean when the time comes.

O

Organisation is key:

Studies show that disorganization can affect mental health. When you're surrounded by clutter, it muddles your thoughts. Overwhelmed. Keep your home, office, or wherever organized. Stay organized. Keep your mind clear by avoiding clutter.

N

Narrow down on a personal self-care pack:

Discover what works for you and your stress. You can use strategies like journaling of thoughts, mindfulness activities, and meditation , and other strategies that personally suit you. Not everyone can practice yoga or is a reader. Find out what works for you at a personal level.

T

Take Breaks:

As a teacher, you can get exhausted during the day with the level of socialization. At the end of the day, take a 10-15 minute pause to be with yourself. Maybe just enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and spend some “me” time.

H

Have time to do things that bring you joy:

Many of us spend most of our time checking on and caring for other people-our students, our children, our families, our colleagues, etc. Find the time to do things that give you happiness - walking, swimming, drawing, painting, growing plants ever, whatever it might be.

E

Embrace positive emotions:

There is an entire range of positive emotions that make a difference to your positive well-being, these include gratitude, pride, amusement, interest, and even hope. Embracing these emotions brings a general sense of positivity and helps you be resilient in tougher times.

B

Boundaries to be Set:

Learn to understand your boundaries and learn to say “NO” when required.

A

Ask for Help:

As a teacher, the general assumption might be that you have to manage everything on your own and know and do everything perfectly. But it will not hurt you to ask for help from your colleagues, family, or even your students.

C

Connect with other Teachers:

Schedule daily or weekly check-ins with coworkers. This can help you support each other and discuss common challenges, such as adapting education plans or responding to parent concerns.

K

Keep celebrating small successes:

Self-compassion helps with self-care. Self-kindness can help you control anxiety and stay calm. As a teacher, you affect young people's lives every day. You support their academic, social-emotional development, and self-esteem. Consider this. Even small moments – a student who looks forward to your class or a parent's "thank you" – are good to reflect on. You chose this work for a reason, and celebrating your successes is good for your health. Your successes extend beyond the classroom.


I am going to end with two of my all-time favorite quotes which pretty much sum up my thoughts on why self-care is so important in general and especially when you are a teacher. Sometimes in our quest to be the most virtuous, we overburden ourselves with the expectations we think others have from us.

In the words of Katie Reed “Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what is left of you”

And on a slightly lighter note !! an adaptation of a quote by Anne Lammott - “Almost everything works better if unplugged for a little while”

It is time for a little “unplug time” teachers. You deserve it. Will be happy to hear how you took your “unplugged” breaks. #selfcaretime #URhuman


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Vasundra Kaul
Founding Partner,Carpediem EdPsych Consultancy LLP

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