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Teaching Self Care

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Self-care is an important part of any teacher’s life. We have to do a million things, which is why self-care is an important part of our lives. However, what about our students? Do we want them to feel like their selves and that being emotionally healthy is less important than good grades? Of course not, and that is why teaching self-care is essential.  

So the other day, there was an incident in my classroom that ended with an ambulance. Everything was fine, and everyone was fine, but everyone was drained for the afternoon.

I explained to my students that sometimes when something scary had happened, the most important thing to do is to take care of yourself. 

Then I put on Mulan.

They were all very grateful, and it was the best decision. 

But did they really learn the lesson? Or were they just focused on the movie? I’m not sure. 

That’s why I’ve compiled all the ways I’m going to be teaching self-care for the rest of the school year! 

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Have you considered what life would be like without self-care?

Now I know teachers can sometimes be a little triggered by the term self-care. When we talk about the burnout rate of teachers, we’re asked if we’ve considered self-care. 

Because, of course, if there’s a problem, we’re expected to fix it on our own.

But every professional needs self-care. People who don’t do self-care wind up as balls of stress. 

Stress can have negative impacts on the body, such as

  • Muscle pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease 

Now we want the best for our students, and I think we can agree that teaching them ways to cope with stress and the ups and downs of life is in their best interest.

So even though we know that self-care is not the solution to large systemic problems, we are going to have to teach it for the sake of the individuals we must prepare for the world!

First of all, if you’re teaching self-care, you have to walk the walk. That means modeling self-care too.

I know that can be tricky for teachers since we have such busy jobs. Also, sometimes self-care gets shoved in our faces as the solution to our problems so much that I don’t want to do it, just to mess with people.

However, that’s probably not in my own best interest.

However, that’s probably not in my own best interest.

Modeling self-care is important because it will benefit the kids because they’ll have a more relaxed teacher and be learning valuable coping strategies from how you behave. 

They learn more from watching how we deal with problems than we realize.

So make sure to show them that some days emotional health is more important. 

For more ideas about long-term self-care tips, check out this post.

I’ve had a lot of informal conversations about self-care with my kids, but like in the story above, that usually involved having to get through the day after an emergency. 

I probably could improve teaching self-care on nonemergency days. 

Some things I already integrate into my day but haven’t formally explained to my kids include:

  • Built-in break time
  • Regular treats and rewards
  • Snack time with a movie
  • Sending kids on walks/errands to calm down

We also do talks sometimes about our feelings with puppets and brainstorm ways to make ourselves feel better.

I’ve found the most essential thing in teaching self-care to students is to listen to what they are telling you about their needs.

When they come in upset, I listen to them and base what self-care strategies we use based off their unique situations.

If you are stuck and need assistance, don’t be afraid to lean on your co-workers.

Schools might have social workers, or, if you’re a 1:1, talk to other SEIT friends, you have about strategies they’re using.

I’ve always been made better by working with others.

Teaching self-care is an important step for teachers to take. We need to make sure our students are learning this coping strategy as they’ll need it to survive in the real world outside of our classrooms. 

I know it’s not a strong suit of mine, which is why I am so lucky to have worked with such wonderful people who have helped me out. 

Make sure you follow me on Instagram and send me a message about who you like to lean on to help with your weak spots!

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