Is your teacher to do list overwhelming? Do you want to find work life balance? Do you have a bad principal who stresses you out? This guide to teacher self care will help you achieve everything scheduled in your teacher planner AND focus on the things that make you happy!
Why Teacher Self Care is Important
There were days I cried on the way to school. I would start to pull out of my driveway and begin to cry. Some of the students parents were unnecessarily cruel (Facebook comments other teachers would tell me about), and my admin was THE WORST. I worked every weekend, and was far too stressed to try to plan anything fun on a weeknight.
I remember being a little nappy at some of my sweetest students. It’s not my most proud moment. I know I needed to figure out what was going on with myself mentally.
What I was missing from my life was self care. I was constantly planning grading papers, setting up activities, researching new strategies, creating materials, etc. But I wasn’t scheduling in any time for me. I know you’re working so hard to be the best teacher you can be. But when you are 100% drained, you can’t be your best for your students. You’ll even find yourself uncharacteristically snapping at your students (I’M SORRYYY!!!)
Teaching is the most amazing and selfless profession. Teachers are CONSTANTLY working or thinking about school. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed if you never can turn off your “career.” Teacher burn out is REAL. Did you know that over 50% of teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years? This is a job that they chose because they LOVED, they were PASSIONATE about, but they HAD TO LEAVE.
You have a teacher planner, so why don’t you have a teacher planner for self care and work life balance? Plan out your summer break to keep track of upcoming dates (when you’ll need to start looking for classroom decor, back to school lessons, teacher PD dates). Plan out all of your fun activities around those dates. Voila! You’ll return feeling more refreshed, accomplished, and have created new mindful habits. Want ideas for summer self care fun? Check out this Summer Self Care Bingo PDF. Sign up in the designated area below to grab your own copy for free!
Daily Self Care For Teachers
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you will schedule out your to do list daily to help achieve work life balance. It’s too easy to spend the weekend scrolling through articles or worrying all summer about what new PBIS strategies you’ll implement. I know that scrolling through Instagram FEELS like you are relaxing, but you won’t feel accomplished when you’re done. Spend your days mindfully, and schedule in both the work AND the self care. Self care needs to be a priority! Create good habits of being mindful with your precious free time, and you will start to feel that work life balance you’ve been missing.
Weekly Teacher Planner
To help you manage your time effectively, you will block out at least one hour a day to accomplish something big. During the school year this will obviously be school related. Your to do list is important, so go in and see what’s a priority. During any breaks you may take this time to focus on yourself. If it’s summer break, you may have additional important items to take care of. Perhaps you have an upcoming teaching interview you need to study for. Work-life balance can make or break how you feel about your career. Put away your teaching binder for one weekend and be mindful of how you spend your time.
Your quality of life will improve with you focus on you.
Monthly Goals for Teacher Self Care
Find the time to set our monthly goals. Pick one goal that may be a long term goal so that teaching isn’t the only thing that defines you. Have you always wanted to learn to paint? You CAN add personal goals to your schedule without feeling guilty. Now is your chance to make the change.
Every three months, reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Celebrate your success, and readjust anything necessary for the future. Keep track of your overall success weekly, and be mindful of changes you need to implement. What change will you make to your teacher to do list? What will you outsource as a teacher to save you time, and make time for YOU? What worked and didn’t work?
To achieve great things and make a change in your life, you have to commit to work. Work through the hard parts and the messy parts. All change is hard and messy, but so worth it.
It’s not only important that you practice self care, but spread this information to other teachers who can benefit from it! If you’re looking for other ways to support your colleagues, check out these ideas for teacher appreciation gifts.