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Protecting Teacher Self-Care

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Self-care sounds self-explanatory- we just need to look after ourselves. I find that I have good intentions for self-care but in practice it takes a bit of work. In teaching there is always a never-ending list of things that you could do to make your classroom and teaching the absolute best that it can be but if you tried to do it all you would burn out.

I’ve found some of the best methods of self-care are the simplest ones that I can include into my day without feeling like it’s another thing to do. When life is already busy just pausing and taking time for yourself can feel like it is impossible. We need to find ways that we can make time for ourselves without it feeling like a burden or too much effort. We need to know that we will feel better after doing something for ourselves, that there are real benefits for making time for our wellbeing.

If we constantly neglect our own needs, then it can have a detrimental effect on our lives. If we keep pushing and putting everyone else’s needs first and think about ourselves last, we can become resentful. By prioritising ourselves even for ten minutes a day it can have a huge impact to our outlook and how we feel. Having a small amount of time dedicated to something just for yourself at first can feel indulgent but in time I’ve come to realise I’m nicer to be around by taking that short amount of time.

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start- how to make time for yourself. It can be small things such as having a peaceful bath or shower. It may be taking five minutes to stop and have a cup of tea without doing anything else at the same time. You may decide to put on your favourite song and just listen to it or dance around singing at the top of your voice. You might go to your room and read an undisturbed chapter of a book. These are all simple acts of self-care, but they make a difference especially if you make a conscious decision to do them. Consider if any of these small acts of self-care are things you would choose or if you have thought of something you would prefer instead.

Let’s start by thinking about what it feels like when you look after yourself. Answer these questions honestly and you will start to come up with simple ideas for your self-care. You may choose to consider answers in your head or journal your responses by writing them down.

Things to ponder:

· What is your favourite thing you do when you are looking after yourself?

· When do you most need to practice self-care?

· What happens when you neglect self-care?

· What one thing could you do today that feels like self-care?

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