We are currently on spring break in Denver Public Schools and for the first time in a long time I enjoyed a nice stay-cation. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I spent an entire day in bed. I don't often allow myself to just relax, be still, and enjoy the comfort of my home. I am up, tackling the many items on my to-do lists, planning for school, running errands, it. never. ends. But amazing things can happen if you allow yourself to just be. (Things like this website).
If we were to list the job description of a 'teacher', the list might include: mentor, nurse, social worker, therapist, life coach, cheerleader, parent, nurturer, shoe-tier, data analyzer, planner, emotion master. There are so many things we must accomplish in a day, that we rarely ever stop to think about what we need to do for ourselves. Teachers are very susceptible to burn-out, compassion fatigue and even second hand post traumatic stress disorder. That is why it is crucial that we are practicing self care and taking care of our own needs. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. This is why it is one of the first topics on my blog.
Practicing self care and having a personal meditation or yoga practice are key to implementing these ideas and strategies into your classroom. In order to create a calm, centered, and creative classroom, you yourself need to feel and experience these things. Are we always going to feel calm, centered, and in control? No. That's not how life works. But we can start to build strategies and skills to bring us back to a state of peace and positivity, even in the face of adversity. Only then can we teach our students the tools and techniques they need to be successful in school and in life.
So, what does self care look like? It will look very different for every person. Here are some of my favorite ways I show myself a little love and make sure my needs are met so I am ready to support the students in my classroom.
Soothing Bath ~ Start the warm water, add in some essential oils and Epsom salt, turn off the lights and light some candles. Sometimes I will play relaxing music (Norah Jones, anyone?) or read my book. I also have a head pillow with suction cups that stick to the tile for ultimate comfort. I use these calming bath crystal packs from Bed Bath and Beyond, they smell amazing and are super easy to use:
Time in Nature ~ This one can be easy but can also be something you plan out. One of the best ways I know how to bring myself back to equilibrium is to hike in the mountains. There is something about being in nature, being surrounded by natural beauty that immediately sends me into a state of peace. I use the hiking trail app AllTrails to search for easy hikes, challenging hikes, hikes near me, or far away. I look up the recent comments from other hikers, the mileage, the difficulty level, and photos to choose which hikes to go on. Don't have time to drive to the mountains? Even a short walk outside can give you the benefits of fresh air and a new outlook on life.
Get Friendly ~ I love, love, love spending time with my friends. Whether we are making dinner, meeting for drinks, going to a yoga class, or having a girls night in, I always feel 100% happier and full of love after spending time with my friends. Reminder: The older you get, the more you realize its not the quantity of friends you have, but the quality of the friendships that will make the difference. Suggestions: Write down a list of 3 things you like to do (eat food, do yoga, watch movies, drink wine, play sports, etc.) and then write down some friends that you like to do those things with. Call them up and schedule some time to do the things you love, with the people you love. Challenge: Pencil in yourself to one of those time slots (reading, taking a bath, meditating).
I could write about the ways I practice self love and self care all day. Now I'd love to hear from you! What are some things you do to take care of yourself? Comment below!
Also, have you ever used one of these? Just saying.. (No I don't get paid to promote BB&B I promise)