The Importance of Self-Care

June 20, 2019

Teaching is an incredibly difficult, and often thankless job. Long hours, noisy classrooms, crowded hallways, constant lesson planning (check out some of the great lessons in The Character Effect™ curriculum to save you some time and energy!), and of course hours of grading make self-care even more critical!

What is self-care?

Quite simply, self-care is acknowledging that you need to take time for yourself, to take an active role in improving your well-being, especially during times of stress. While our social and emotional curriculum can’t give you a spa day (though you certainly deserve it!) we can help you take the time to focus on you, even a few minutes each day can make a big difference in your well-being.

To being approaching self-care, start by thinking about a time when you are performing at your best as a teacher. Think of a day where everything went well, and you really connected with your students.

  • What made those days special?
  • How were you feeling during that day?
  • What did your students experience from you during those days?
  • What did you do to help make that day special?

You were probably well-prepared on your most successful days. Some level of careful planning went into making those days special. You were likely feeling well physically and emotionally on those days. Practicing self-care gives you more opportunities to feel a sense of confidence and satisfaction from your job. It is important that you build in time for self-care to help you remain mentally sharp and increase the frequency of these special days. Remember, self-care should be practiced when you need it most; during the school year, not just on spring, winter, or summer breaks.

Start by believing that self-care is important and can improve your ability to perform in the classroom every day. Breaking down the stigma of what self-care means is a big part of understanding yourself. Understand that self-care is not just complex yoga moves or hours-long meditations. In this video, Susannah Winters discuss how self-care can be simply just taking a couple of deep breaths.

Don’t feel like you have to set aside two hours every day to self-care so you can be a model to your students and school staff members. Here is a link to 20 self-care activates that would take less than 10 minutes (some only 1 or 2 minutes).

As a teacher, you want to develop students academically, but you also want to produce positive socially and emotionally mature students. Part of that process is modeling and promoting self-care practices. Be willing to push yourself outside your comfort zone to learn more about self-care, as it might serve your student well this school year.