I am barely getting this post typed up.
I mean, it’s like 7pm on a Tuesday and I am only just now pondering my “Teacher Tuesday” post. I’m also multitasking, and will have to stand up and run to the door to give out candy to trick-or-treaters about 1,3834,8103,9091 times before I hit “Publish.”
I am stressed, friends. Like, my to do list is a mile long, and I only have more deadlines coming up on the horizon. It’s the end of the term, and my students need every ounce of support I’ve got to give to finish strong. I am already actively day-dreaming about the 4-day food-fest that is Thanksgiving.
“Self-Care” is kind of an overused phrase, and I feel like it’s always somehow uttered in the same breath as the word “bubblebath.” But real self care is essential, especially if you’ve got a high-stress job like mine.
I often don’t have time for a bubble bath, and I surely don’t have money to spare on a massage. But I do practice self care, and I do find it soothing in times of stress.
Here are a few attainable ways I give myself a little boost when things are tough.
- I maintain a steady sleep schedule. Sometimes I toss and turn all night, sure. But I always make sure to reduce screen time for 30-60 minutes before I head to bed, and then I make sure to physically be in bed for at least 8 hours each night.
- I cut down on caffeine. Because honestly, there’s nothing worse for a nervous stomach and jumpy nerves than a double espresso.
- I read a little. Not a lot. Just a little. A blog post or a magazine article does the trick. committing myself to a whole novel can get overwhelming in the midst of a paperwork storm, so I keep it light. Just something to get my mind off things.
- I say no to a few activities and invitations. Not all of them; there’s no need to go total hermit. But I do need to clear a little time in my schedule so that I can sleep and eat at regular intervals.
- I let myself have a cup of tea without multi-tasking. I just sit on the couch, maybe listen to my favorite songs or stare at some mindless morning news without my phone in my hand or my computer on my lap.
- I prioritize. I always keep a to-do list. But when it gets too long, I color-code it according to urgency. The things that aren’t urgent are just not a big deal.
- I leave my work at work. This is the most important one. Sometimes, when I cannot stop worrying about all my students and duties and documents, I literally leave my work stuff at home. my computer, planner, and even my color coding pens at work for an evening. This forces me to relax, and also to get some of my personal errands done without feeling guilty about not doing professional work.
- I workout. I mean, obviously I am training for a marathon, and I’m also working on building my muscle strength. But working out isn’t only goal oriented for me. Getting 30 minutes of cardio in 4+ times a week is part of my personal- and clinically recommended- stress management plan.
- I focus on the endgame. There’s always something down the line for me to look forward to. Right now that’s Thanksgiving. I pick a point off in the future and I focus in. I look forward to it. And I remember that all good things take work and patience.
So that’s that. Like I said, I’m not a bubble bath person. I’ll admit to diffusing essential oils, though. But, like, lavender oil is bomb.
Now You Tell Me…
- How do you practice self-care?
- What helps you to prioritize your to-do list?