Teacher Self Care

We all have heard the saying that "You can not pour from an empty cup".  We know how important self-care is, but sometimes as teachers (and moms), we sweep it to the side so we can continue to do our mountains of paperwork.  As special education teachers, we often work with kiddos who are behaviorally and/or emotionally challenging.  With these challenging situations, we could experience "compassion fatigue"  This can lead to increased depression, emotional exhaustion, decreased happiness at work, difficulties with our personal relationships, and loneliness.  The stress we experience can also impact our concentration and attention (Shapiro, 2007).  When we take care of ourselves it shows not only in our appearance and emotions but also in our teaching and classrooms. This needs to be something we focus on DAILY, not just once in a while.

I asked my coworkers how they practice self-care and they came up with a great list.

  • sleep, going to bed early no matter what
  • pedicures 
  • drinking lots of water
  • meal planning for clean eating
  • water aerobics
  • alone time
  • watch mindless tv
  • read 
  • dipping into the candy drawer during planning
  • new pens
  • teaching Jazzercise
  • walking 4 miles daily
  • morning/nightly walks with lots of talking and laughter
  • a husband who cooks
  • girls night out
  • daily stretching
  • Chocolate
I know what you are thinking, "Caitlin, this list is great, but how do I fit it in?"  My number one  answer, make it a priority.  Just like getting your IEPs written, reports filed, and lesson plans completed are a priority, self care must be added to that list.  I schedule a pedicure once every 1 -2 months.  I put it on my google calendar and then share it with my husband.  That way he knows that I am taking that 1 hour for me.   I do the same thing with a girls night out.  I also take 10 - 15 minutes every morning to stretch or do some minor weight lifting.  This helps me get ready for the day and focus on what I need to do.  Every night, I read before I go to sleep.   How do you practice self care?  Please share in the comments!

I started a teacher self-care board on Pinterest.  Check it out here for more ideas on how to take care of you!

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