Teachers wear many hats, including caregiver, role model, and advocate. The work you engage in is personal and requires passion, commitment, and hours that often stretch you very thin. Now we don’t need to tell you about the importance of self-care, but how do you make time for yourself when simply finding time to use the restroom during the school day is a challenge? Valid question. Start small and practice some of these helpful tips to recharge your body and brain.

Schedule time alone. Teaching can become socially draining. Plan at least 10-20 minutes a day where you can take a break and enjoy some alone time. Take a walk around the school building (or even take a few laps around your classroom) over your lunch break, take a minute to fill your water bottle throughout the day, or sit in your car or at your desk and listen to your favorite song. 

Keep a journal. Log your experiences, both good and bad. Writing is an amazing way to process and work through emotions on the challenging days. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, look up previous positive experiences to bring a smile to your face. And remember, you’re the only one that will see this so don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself.

Create a circle of social support. Connect with other educators in your school, and make new friends! Make time to talk with loved ones regularly, whether in person or virtually. Try going to dinner with friends once a month or simply spending quality time with your significant other.

Set healthy boundaries. Oftentimes, teachers find themselves working past the school bell and well into the night and weekend. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, set boundaries for when you will stop working daily and when you’ll be available to answer emails from students and families. You’re a human with needs first, educator second.

Engage in physical activity as a stress-reliever. Evidence shows that regular physical activity increases energy and reduces your risk for health problems. Movement can also be a fun way to release stress or frustration. Stretching or going on a quick walk are both quick and easy ways to get started.

Take time off when needed. A crucial aspect of self-care is managing stress and taking a break when necessary. Educators often view teaching as much more than a job, and can struggle with stepping away. A relaxing 5-minute break or a personal day can have a profound impact on your body and brain.

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