Are you done teaching preschool for the summer? Maybe like me, you are frantically finishing up your school year at preschool while also trying not to be THAT mom that is packing three carrots unpeeled, half a sleeve of Ritz crackers, and a yogurt two days past its best before for your own kids’ lunch. Who am I kidding? My kids eat school lunches after Christmas. That’s my special gift to myself. My point is that the end of the year is hectic, but once school is done I want you to take a pledge with me, that summer will be about self-care and that self-care will extend to the fall, winter, and spring next year too.
What is Self Care?
That isn’t something I can answer for you; only you can decide what it means. So much depends on your lifestyle, your time commitments, and your budget. But self-care is possible no matter what. For me, self-care is about going to bed earlier, eating right, and getting time in for running. It is also about spending more time with my family; I know that sounds suspiciously NOT like self-care, but I’m talking about fun things that fill my bucket like going to the movies with my kids or a walk with my husband.
Why pledge to make self-care a priority? Isn’t that kinda selfish?
Self-care is vital for those of us to care for others at work and home.
Teaching is a tough job, even on the most carefree days. We are negotiating little people and their emotions, supporting development, and helping families along the way. You need to honor that your job is tough and it requires a lot of emotional energy that has to be recharged somehow.
Here is my recipe for good teacher self-care:
This post contains links to a few companies I love and use for my self-care. The links are affiliate links that I may receive a small commission from if purchases are made.
Grab a pencil and some paper because you need to write down these four things… I’ll wait for you.
Got one? Here are the four ingredients for good self-care.
- Work on your physical health. If you aren’t healthy, how are you going to have the energy to teach? This is going to look different for all of us. I am a long-distance runner, but in May 2021, I ruptured a muscle at the end of a race ( I had such a good pace!) and it’s taken a lot to recoup, so I’ve had to readjust. Now I do more walking, a little running, and strength training. This also means eating in a way that fuels your body. Not every day, but more often than not.
- One part make your mental health a priority. Yoga? I’m not a fan, but I can’t tell you how many friends swear by it and not just because it helps them stay flexible but because of the stress relief. I prefer boxing and running. Other people love meditation. Maybe it’s going to the mosque or making more time for prayer. Whatever it is, commit to something that helps you manage stress. As I said, for me, it is running and working out multiple times a week.
- One part get more sleep. You don’t earn rest; you NEED rest. Maybe it’s watching three episodes of your favorite shows on the weekend with your partner instead of staying late to watch them during the week. Perhaps it’s a better sleep routine, using a weighted blanket or no screens after 8 pm ( I realize this is not good for a blogger to tell her readers, but I care about your sleep), or maybe it’s about shifting your schedule, so the alone time you need is at 6 am, not 1 am. Rest makes a massive difference for teachers; it makes you more patient, more alert, and more sensitive to your students’ needs; finding a way to get even a tiny bit more is worth it.
- The last part more fun.This is the part that so many of us think about when we think about self-care. Binge watch Netflix? Have a glass of wine? Manicure? Or maybe you like to shop for new teaching clothes? Having fun is important, but for me, it’s the icing on the “self-care” cake. Sneaking off after dinner to listen to a podcast is probably one of my favorite indulgences, but maybe for you, it’s getting your hair done or watching something on Netflix ( ok, that is one of mine too.) The point of this is that you deserve to have some time for frivolous fun; it makes the hard work worth it.
Did you write it all down? Do you have your personalized recipe for self-care? And a plan for making self-care a priority?
You are worth it – and it doesn’t just help you!
Need some help navigating self-care? Take my self-care challenge. It’s an email series that helps you take control and set your recipe for self-care.
Julie S says
So true and I have to confess that it’s been way down on my priority list of late. The result is that I’m right on the edge of teaching burnout. We don’t break for the summer, but our summer program is more ‘camp-y’ and less curriculum-based. I’ll be hanging on by my fingernails until my family’s big vacation at the end of July. In the meantime, I’ll print out your list and hang it somewhere to remind me to take some time for me! Thanks.