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Self-Care for Educators during the Back to School Rush

The beginning of the year is one of the most overwhelming times of year for teachers! It’s so important to emphasize self-care for educators during the back to school rush. Take time for you and prioritize your well-being this back to school season. 

Keep reading for a few ideas to keep you grounded this year!

Physical Self-Care for Educators

Emphasizing physical self-care is really important as you head back to school! As a first grade teacher, I am constantly on the floor, setting up things in my room, and even picking up kids from time to time. It’s so easy to get in a rut with exercise and die when I am super busy, but physical self-care is so important during the back to school months. 

Prioritize Exercise and Movement

There are so many benefits of physical activity for stress management and overall well-being. Incorporate short bursts of exercise throughout the day to get some exercise. I love using GoNoodle or Just Dance videos on YouTube to move with the kids! Some schools or districts have gyms with exercise equipment at the middle or high schools. Others offer discounts on local gym memberships. Ask your building administration for more info.

I’m a big fan of my Peloton {when it’s not holding my clothes!} My LB name is mollybuckets if you want to be friends!

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Don’t underestimate the importance of nutritious meals for sustained energy and focus! Meal planning really helps maximize your time and what you eat during the day. I try to designate a few hours on the weekend to meal planning. Eat foods from the healthy eating pyramid but allow yourself a treat from the teacher’s lounge every once in a while! 

Need a little help meal planning? Check out this free Meal Planner that will help you keep track of your meals and grocery list.

Make sure to keep a few snacks around your classroom too. I always have nuts and peanut butter pretzels stashed in a cabinet for a quick snack!

Mental Health Self-Care for Educators

Stress and anxiety has been part of teaching forever, but since the pandemic, it’s been even more of a concern. Mental health for both students and teachers is a high priority in self-care for educators. Here are a few ways I prioritize mental health.

Relax and Reduce Stress

Try some techniques for relaxation and stress reduction, such as deep breathing and mindfulness. Apps like Calm also help reduce anxiety and stress, moderate meditation, and help you fall asleep. I also like the Balance app to manage my sleep. And for a limited time, you can grab a year of the app for FREE!

Create a Calm Classroom Environment

Although this is a technique to promote mental health for students, it also helps you! Clear your classroom of clutter and noise. I try calm music and soft colors also help promote a calm classroom.

We also start each day with some instrumental music {my favorite playlist is the Piano Guys!}

Establish Boundaries and Manage Time

“No” is definitely a complete sentence! Set realistic expectations on what you can accomplish during the school day. Identify priorities and focus on what truly matters. For many educators, that’s family. That may mean not taking work home to grade or saying no to an extra club or duty. 

This is something I feel VERY strongly about! We have so much work as teachers that we could honestly stay in the classroom 8 hours a day after school and it’ll never be done!

So set a goal for leaving and stick to it! Need a little help organizing? Go snag this Teacher To Do list freebie!

Create a Well-Structured Schedule

Try some effective time management strategies, such as using calendars and prioritizing tasks. I use a Google calendar that syncs with my family member’s calendars. Some people like to use a daily calendar where they write down hour-by-hour tasks. Include time for breaks and self-care activities in your schedule.

Build Supportive Network

The happiest I’ve ever been in my career is when I am able to connect with colleagues that value my physical and mental health. Seek support and share experiences with fellow educators. This means collaborating and brainstorming ideas together. There’s also nothing wrong with seeking professional support.

Finally, utilize resources such as mentorship programs or counseling services. Some districts have free counseling available through Employee Assistance Programs. Many insurance companies are also adding additional mental health benefits. 

Self-care for educators is so important, especially during the back-to-school rush! Take time to prioritize your physical and mental well-being. It’s OK to not be OK and to ask for help!

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