Updated: Jun 27
Self Care is not selfish! This is something a lot of teachers and educators worry about and can actually prevent teachers from maintaining good mental health as they worry that Self Care is indulgent and takes their attention away from their learners. However, maintaining good mental health through an effective Self Care strategy can actually benefit everyone, you the teacher as well as all the children you teach. If you are taking care of yourself as a teacher, you are more likely to thrive in your profession and be the best teacher you can be for your kids!
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What is Teacher Self Care?
Teacher Self Care is all about taking care of your health and ensuring you are your best self. Self Care is when you consciously make the effort to carry out activities or make choices that improve your mental and physical health. These could be anything from small choices such as taking a healthy lunch to school to larger decisions like starting a new hobby.
There are 8 areas of Self Care. These are physical, emotional, social, spiritual, personal, environmental, financial, and professional (we will look closer at each area later!). In an ideal world, an effective Self Care plan would involve an activity or choice in all 8 areas of Self Care each day.
Self Care should not be thought of as more things to add to your already extensive to-do list! It should be something that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. To help you create your own Teacher Self Care plan I have created this FREE Mini Teacher Self Care Kit which has everything you need to do just that!
Why is Teacher Self Care important?
Teacher Self Care is important for numerous reasons. The first reason is that it enables you to be the best teacher you can be. If you are tired or mentally drained, you cannot carry out your job to the best of your ability. Teachers are in the caregiving profession and are often better at advising others to look after themselves that actually following their own advice!
Another reason why teacher Self Care is so important is it helps to avoid teacher stress which can lead to burnout. Different points in the academic year may be more stressful than others, however, having a good Self Care plan that you follow consistently will hopefully help to reduce teacher stress at these busy times.
Teacher Self Care is important because it allows us to model good examples of Self Care to the children we teach. If we model a healthy lifestyle this will hopefully encourage our children to replicate this in their lives. It also allows us to provide a good role model to fellow teachers, especially new or trainee teachers. If we show how to maintain a healthy work-life balance, then it will encourage new teachers to do the same.
What are the 8 areas of Self Care?
Below is a more detailed description of the 8 areas of Teacher Self Care as well as some simple Self Care activity ideas.
Physical Self Care takes into account movement and exercise. Simple ideas you could do here could be going for a walk or run or even starting a new workout class. Physical Self Care also covers nutrition and what you are eating. Eating more healthily or meal planning could be a way to improve this area of Self Care. Sleep and resting needs are other areas of Physical Self Care. Tracking your sleep and ensuring you get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night is another good way to tackle this area of Self Care. Water intake is also included in Physical Self Care and by tracking your water intake per day you can ensure you are getting the minimum amount you need.
Emotional Self Care considers emotional literacy and your ability to talk about your emotions. This area also includes managing stress. This area of Self Care can be improved by making time to reflect on your feelings in a journal.
Social Self Care involves having a supportive group of people around you and maintaining positive relationships. It is about ensuring you have good support systems in place. Considering how you use Social Media is another aspect of Social Self Care. Spending time with friends and family and meeting new people is a great way to improve this area of your life.
Spiritual Self Care encourages you to think about your beliefs and values. A great way to tackle this area of Self Care is to make time to reflect on your day or week. Carrying out other activities such as meditating or completing a gratitude journal will also allow you to focus on Spiritual Self Care.
Personal Self Care involves your hobbies and knowing yourself and your own identity. Learning new things is a great way to explore Personal Self Care.
Environmental Self Care considers the areas around you at work, home, etc. By ensuring these areas are organised, clutter-free, clean, and well maintained will help you improve your Environmental Self Care.
Financial Self Care is all about having a conscious relationship with money and managing money effectively. Making good choices, budgeting, saving, and spending wisely are all ways you can focus on Financial Self Care.
Professional Self Care involves sharing your strengths and talents at work, knowing your professional boundaries, and maintaining a good work-life balance. Taking advantage of opportunities to develop professionally and getting satisfaction from your job are also things to consider within Professional Self Care.
How to incorporate Self Care into your daily routine?
Each teacher’s daily routine and Self Care needs are different, so you need to find ways to include Self Care activities in your schedule that works for you and your family. Try to find a way to easily incorporate Self Care activities into your daily schedule. You should not feel like you need to rearrange your day to do this!
First of all, think of some Self Care activities you would like to do or Self Care habits you would like to introduce. These could be a range of small things, such as going for a short walk at lunchtime, to more large-scale habits, like starting a weekly fitness class. You can get some fantastic ideas from my FREE Mini Teacher Self Care Kit which includes 28 Days of Teacher Self Care Ideas. Aim to think of different Self Care activities for each of the 8 areas of Self Care mentioned above.
Once you have come up with your Self Care activity ideas, you now need to decide how you are going to incorporate them into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine. You may find using a daily, weekly, or monthly planner helpful to do this. You can download a free copy of all these resources in my Mini Teacher Self Care Kit.
Another thing to consider when creating your Teacher Self Care plan is if you feel you are lacking in a certain area of Self Care try to focus on creating goals in that area.