We’re living in really difficult times. It’s just not how it used to be. Times that force us to adjust to the new normal. Times when we miss the fun kind of noise of the classroom and bonding time with fellow teachers. We’re living in crazy times. But we don’t have to go crazy with it.
And because we love our fellow teachers so much, we’re sharing self-care tips you can use right now in the midst of this pandemic.
1. Set boundaries for your work time.
Just because we love our work and we work from home doesn’t mean we have to work all the time. Our body and brain need rest too. For us to deliver the best quality work consistently, we have to prioritize rest time.
Remember to take your breaks as needed or on a similar schedule to when you were still working physically at school. Having this habit of taking a break and ending your work at specific times would help you maintain your mental health and vocal cords at peak performance.
2. Have a set workspace at home and organize it.
Related to tip #1, having a set workspace at home helps you set boundaries of where you’re supposed to work so that when you leave that part of your house, your mind shifts into relax mode. If you have a small space, simply keeping your laptop and work paraphernalia out of sight would be your visual cue that it’s time to focus on other personal (non-work!) matters.
3. Use a to-do list.
It’s a fact of life that as we age, our brains don’t remember details quite as easily as they did before. Writing a to-do list of your daily priorities helps your brain create more mental space to work efficiently instead of expending effort on remembering things.
4. Schedule your me-time to pamper yourself.
While social distancing, it doesn’t hurt to walk around your house, your backyard, or a nearby park while keeping your mask on and maintaining proper distance with others. This is just one way to relax and take healthy time for yourself. All of us have our own way to unwind. What gives you joy? Schedule a time in your day or week when you’ll treat yourself in a way that you’d treat a loved one. Is it binging on your favorite Netflix series? Buying your favorite to-go food and having it delivered to your doorsteps? Or simply just getting some fresh air in your favorite hideaway place? Whatever it is, schedule it and take care of yourself.
5. Connect with family and friends often.
Thanks to modern technology, we can still continue to have quality time with distant family and friends. Yes, we could entertain ourselves with our gadgets, music, or videos, but nothing beats encouraging, laughing with, and exchanging life updates with our loved ones. Being isolated for a long time may hurt your mental health as we’re all wired for human connection. And as Brene Brown says, “Where there is no belonging, there is suffering.”
6. Practice self-compassion more.
As teachers, we often set too high of standards for ourselves. Thus, we’re more prone to becoming our own worst enemies. And since the number one person we talk to a lot every single day is ourselves, we should practice more self-compassion. This may involve saying positive affirmations every morning or being gentle with ourselves in our self-talk.
7. Do less but better.
More than money, our most important currency is time. Once it’s used up, you can never get it back, so whether that’s work related or personal, streamline your schedule by doing fewer things but better. Perhaps there are utility bills you could just pay online instead of wasting your time in service centers that have long queues. Is there anything in your work that you could delegate to others because it’s not really your expertise? Could you eliminate some obstacles to your rest and recreation so you could fully devote proper time to yourself?
These are just a few tips that are guaranteed to chase the blues away and give you the optimal energy needed for both your work and personal lives. I’m sure you have your own tips to share. Don’t be shy to share it in the comments section of this post! We’re all in this together and happy to learn from one another.
Remember that teaching is the mother of all professions, so we must exercise appropriate self-care for us to continue serving with our whole and happy selves in our calling.