Wednesday, September 30, 2015

25 Thoughts on Self Care for Transformational Teachers

This was my 30+ minutes of writing today.  I think it is really hard to do these things with consistency, but I hope something will spark for you!

How many ways can I think of for transformational teachers to care for themselves?  {These are things that I’m applying so much more now that I’m out of the classroom for this year.}

  1.  Know your limits and stick to them--know how much time you will commit in a day/a week/ a month/ a year to the tasks you need to do--planning/grading/cleaning/set up/ extra stuff.  
  2. Be realistic and stick to it.  For example:  I have 30 minutes to grade, and that is all today.
  3. Close out distractions from your personal work time--no internet, friends, kids, coworkers, etc.  The time moves fast, and you know what you have to do.  Carve out that quiet work time and keep it sacred.
  4. Say NO! politely but firmly.  Some ways to say it are:  “I wish I could, but I’m not able to add anything extra right now.”  “That sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t line up with my goals right now.”  “I wish you well, but I am not able to participate at this time.”
  5. Do something that brings you joy every single day--cook, walk around your block, knit, play with your kids, clean your house, listen to music, whatever it is for you.  It might be very simple like smile as you walk down the street.  You are only able to give from the overflow of your joy, so keep your joy well filled and overflowing!
  6. Honor your humanity.  You are not a teaching machine or robot.  You are a human being.  When you recognize and accept this in your self it will be much easier to recognize and accept in other people--especially your students.
  7. Practice being present.  Stop and look at people when they are speaking to you.  Don’t let your mind wander.  Really be there.  In the long run it saves time and resources.
  8. Keep guilt and shame at bay--they will steal your joy and deflate your effectiveness.
  9. Move your body every day--and I don’t mean around your classroom--unless your dancing around before or after school!  Preferable move outside. 
  10. Fuel your body with the best nutrition you can.  Be intentional about the ways you fuel your body.  The better the nutrition you put in the more effectiveness you will be able to put out.  {On days when you eat a bag of M&Ms, accept it, let it go and move on.  Refer to number 8}
  11.   Spend as much time in nature that you can.  Vitamin D from the sun is a big deal.  Moving outside is a big deal.  Time in nature is proven to improve mood and overall outlook. 
  12.   Get enough rest.  This is more than just sleep, and sleep is very important.  Plan down time for yourself and your family.
  13. Learn something new.  This can be for your job or just for fun.  Take a pottery class.  Learn to salsa.  Whatever is going to keep you moving forward in your life.
  14.   Don’t get sidetracked by other people’s ideas.  There will always be other people who are doing amazing things that are different than you.  Don’t let yourself be filled with doubt because you aren’t doing what someone else is doing.  You bring your A game, and don’t worry about someone else’s A game.
  15. Ask for help.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help.  It doesn’t mean you will get it, but keep asking different people.  Eventually the person who was meant to come along side you will be there.
  16. Have a place and way to vent.  It might be a long run on Saturday morning or a glass of wine with a good friend.
  17.   Don’t worry that you’re not doing things the way everyone else is.  Some people will always be ahead of you, and some people will always be behind you.  The important thing is that you know where you are going.
  18. Have a good support network.  For me the best support community turned out to be online and outside of education circles.
  19.   Accept people as they are, and know that we can only change about 10% of ourself.  People have set personalities.  Accept this.  Your only able to change one person, and that is you!  Accept this.
  20.   Make a gratitude list.  It might be something you write down or it might be an informal and mental part of your bedtime ritual before you fall asleep.
  21.   Accept the fact that not all people are trustworthy.  Decide what part of your life you want to be public {it might be big or small} and then fiercely guard the part that you want to keep private.  
  22.   Social media is rarely your friend--see #21
  23.   Remember when people are mean they are usually broken and hurting.  Their behavior says much more about them than you--especially if they make it public.  You do NOT need to engage with them EVER
  24.   Behave with integrity.  Keep your word.  Respect other people.  This is a lost are, but many years ago my dad said, “You will sleep better every night if you do the right thing.”
  25. Choose kindness whenever possible.  It’s always possible.  {I’ve seen those words credited to the Dali Lama and Mother Theresa.}  Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is walk away or stay quiet.

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