My top three tips for teacher self care, and a free tool to help you.
Self-Care for Teachers
Self care should be at the top of the to-do list for teachers. It is so easy to burn out from the workload, continuous exposure to stressful situations and lack of work/life balance.
My top three teacher self care tips are:
1. Firstly, take time for self care. If you don’t schedule it in, your body or mind will eventually take it from you. That’s the truth.
2. Secondly, focus on the big rocks at school. Have you heard the story about the jar that was filled with pebbles and there was no room for the big rocks, but when the rocks were put in first, the pebbles fit around the edges? Get the important things done first and the rest will take care of itself (or it never mattered in the first place).
3. Finally, make sure you use your time productively. To do this, you need to know what you value. Do you love spending time in your classroom in the afternoon, and you’re ok with staying back? Or would you rather be exercising or spending time with family and friends?
I know which one I would rather be doing, and so I plan my school day accordingly.
How do I plan with my self care in mind?
I use a simple tool that takes care of all three teacher self care tips!
I call it a small break planner. I’m not talking about a mini-vacay – I’m talking about using your school time productively – even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Think about it – even if you find just FIVE MINUTES a day to complete an important task, that’s almost half an hour that you don’t have to spend after school.
What is this a small break planner?
The small break planner is like a to-do list, but it is separated into time increments.
- When I have a task that needs completing, I add it to my planner under the amount of time it will take me to complete. My planner has increments for 5 min, 10 min, 15 min and 20min+.
- I normally complete my list at the beginning of the week, and keep it on my desk, ready to add to, work from and mark off!
- I write in the most important things that I need to complete while I am at school, AND I include self care. Even if it’s just 5 minutes to have a coffee or tea, or 10 minutes to complete a meditation while my class is at lunch.
- Throughout the week, when I find 5 minutes, I go straight to my list and check one off.
When can you grab 5 mins during class time?
- Stamina reading
- Classroom clean up
- Coming in from the bell
- Before lunch duty
- During timed activities
- Watching an online video
You can also find blocks of time in your lunch break, however I do think you should socialise with your colleagues at least once during the week, so make sure you book a visit to the staffroom in.
So there you have it – its my next-level to-do list that will help you to put self care first.
Freebie to manage self-care for teachers
I have created a template that includes ideas for self care and teacher tasks that you can complete in different time increments.