Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about health and fitness, happiness and social and emotional well being. It is equally important to teach our students to take care of themselves too.
Life is so busy and a teacher’s life is just that much more busy. Some of us have small children at home. Or, if you are like me, you have teenagers at home and an aging (and ailing) parent as part of your responsibility as well. It’s all part of the “sandwich generation”.
That can be exhausting if you don’t look after yourself! That is why I am also passionate about teacher wellness. Teacher burnout is a real thing! So while many of you are on summer holidays right now, I wanted to share with you some of the things I do throughout the year to look after myself, some of which can be done at school WITH the students.
If you are feeling HAPPY, everything else seems to fall into place. Easier said than done, right? Perhaps. But here are a few tips to help you create more happiness in your life.
1. Smile. That’s right. It’s as simple as that. Smile at yourself in the mirror in the morning.
2. Take brain breaks throughout the day. I do this 3 times a day with my students. For more on this click here: Mindful Brains Mindful Hearts
3. Eat food that you love – yes, even the food that’s not good for you but oh so yummy! Just do it sparingly as a treat because eating healthy makes you physically feel so much better (more on that later).
4. Take time for friends. Go for regular coffees or walks in the park with your friends. They will be there when you need them.
5. Own a pet. My dogs are the BEST! They cheer me up if I need it and give me unconditional love.
If you can’t own a pet, look at one everyday on Pinterest! Clever Classroom has a wonderful Pinterest board of cute animals to bring you your Smile Break
6. Get out in nature!
It’s amazing what getting out into the fresh air can do for your mood. In fact, some scholars feel that kids aren’t getting enough:
|Click on the book to learn more|
7. Be kind to others. Help others. Pay it forward. It feels good and you always get back what you give and it’s such a positive feeling.
Another aspect of teacher wellness is to EXERCISE. Even just a half and hour walk each evening is enough to help you unwind from the day and feel good. I go to the gym a few times a week or to my personal trainer’s studio for yoga, pilates, trx training or the vibration trainer. Sometimes it’s hard to go because you are SO tired but it’s always worth it.
If you can’t find the time or energy to exercise after work, either try for the morning or exercise with the kids. Where I teach, DPA (daily physical activity) is mandated for 30 minutes a day (above and beyond recess and lunch), so why not go out with the students and run around?
EATING HEALTHY is so important to feeling good both physically and mentally. I eat 5-6 times a day with 2-3 snacks and 3 meals. I always pack extra healthy snacks for after school because that is usually when your energy crashes and you reach for junk! (But, I’m not perfect, I always have chocolate in my cupboard for emergencies). My go-to snacks are carrots, cucumbers and hummus, yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, avacado. I also have protein shakes because it’s great for muscle repair and women don’t seem to get enough protein.
Finally, MINDFUL AWARENESS is so good for your spiritual self. For some, that might include religion and for others it might be something within yourself. The more I have learned to be mindful of everything in my life, the more my senses have opened and the more balance I have achieved in my life. How does one do this?
|Stop and smell the roses|
Essentially, it means to slow down and use your five senses more and take in more of your daily life that you take for granted. I teach this to my students with my Mindful Brains unit and The Mindup Program and that’s how I learned it too! In the Fall I use Writing Prompts for Fall Using the 5 senses to teach the kids.