Teacher Self-Care

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As educators, the start of a brand new school year is often the time when we feel the most refreshed, positive, and hopeful. However, too often, these positive feelings quickly diminish once the daily grind of teaching sets in and your days become filled with managing challenging behaviors, parent phone calls/emails, long meetings, and the stack of work piles up. And before you know it, your patience is running thin and the day-to-day challenges that didn’t faze you before leave you feeling very stressed and you begin counting down the days to the next break.

Several studies have found significant relationships between teachers’ well-being and classroom climate, says Mylien Duong, a senior research scientist at Committee for Children. “Teaching is ranked as one of the most stressful professions, year after year, and the level of stress among teachers is increasing.

The research shows that teachers’ emotions, both positive and negative, are contagious to their students. To support students, we need to first support teachers.”

Therefore, self-care should be something all teachers make a priority. With that said, over the next weeks, I will be sharing a few research based self-care tips for teachers.

SLEEP

Get a full eight hours of sleep. Yes, that may mean no bingeing on Netflix or less time on grading papers, but those few extra hours make a difference when it comes to your ability to function, both physically and mentally.

In a 2010 study, nearly 25 percent of teachers and administrators reported that their daily activities were impaired by lack of sleep. This same study notes that 43 percent of school personnel slept less than six hours per night, about an hour less than the average American adult.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be nearly as cool, calm, and collected when dealing with a challenging student or another issue at work.

TIPS TO A BETTER SLEEP:

  • Avoid blue light from phones and computers 30 minutes before heading to bed.
  • Keep your sleep environment as dark as possible as light disrupts your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
  • Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the eight hours before bed time.
  • Avoid beverages (including alcohol) at least two hours before bed time to minimize trips to the bathroom.
  • Limit daytime naps to 10-20 minutes. If you find that daytime naps make you less sleepy at bedtime, avoid napping altogether.

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