By Teachers, For Teachers
Healthy habits are not always easy to come by, but as you know, healthy teachers make happy teachers. If you want to be a healthy, happy, energetic member of the teaching profession, then you must maintain a few habits. From getting enough sleep and exercise to eating healthy and taking time for yourself, we will outline the most important healthy habits that you need to maintain in order to feel good and be a better member of the teaching profession. Here are a few suggestions to implement into your daily routine.
As teachers, it’s hard to think of yourself when you’re so busy taking care of everyone else. However, this habit is essential if you want to get and stay healthy. Taking time for yourself can mean something different to everyone. To some, it may just mean taking a moment to check in and breathe deeply, while to others it may mean to have alone time or do something fun with the people they love. The key to maintaining this healthy habit is to find what you need for yourself, and do it every single day.
If you want to be a better teacher, then you’ll need to adopt healthy food choices into your life. Healthy foods help you sustain your blood sugar level, keep you full, and your mind clear. You’ve probably seen the aftermath of when your students eat sugar. First they are on a high, then they plummet, and crash into a low. The same thing goes for you when you eat sugar and other bad foods. You too will have highs and lows, and this will lead you to not feeling very well, which will affect your ability to teach. Your body needs a lot of protein to keep your energy up, so try and pack yourself a few healthy snacks like nuts, berries, or dried fruit to eat throughout the day. Pack your lunch with a Greek nonfat yogurt, hummus and carrots, or apples and peanut butter. All of these foods are known to keep your energy and mood up. The more you incorporate these types of food into your life the more that you’ll crave them.
As you know, teachers spend the majority of their day on their feet, so it’s hard to think about going home and exercising when all you want to do is put your feet up. Luckily, it’s OK if you don’t go home and exercise as long as you are getting in enough movement throughout the day. The goal to adding more movement into the day is to do a little bit at a time. For example, you can wake up and do 5-10 minutes of yoga, implement brain breaks with your students between lessons, take a walk around the school at lunchtime, or play an active game with your students. Anything to get you up and moving throughout the day will be good for your body. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also be much more engaging as a teacher because you’ll have your endorphins up and going.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Sleep is the most effective and healthiest way to reduce any stress that you may have in your life. This is a habit that you need to implement today. If you have trouble getting this amount of sleep, then plan to go to bed earlier. Just as your students or children have a regular bedtime routine, you should as well. Avoid taking your cellphone into the bedroom or bringing in any schoolwork, because this will just distract you even more. Make it habit to go to bed and wake up at the same time every single day (even on the weekends if you can), because this will help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle. A healthy sleep cycle means a healthy, happier teacher.
Not everything will always go as planned, and it’s up to you to stay positive. No one wants to be around a “Negative Nancy.” Negative thoughts only bring us down. Try to always stay positive -- when we think positively, we expect a good outcome. Surround yourself with people who only have a positive outlook on life and teaching and you will find that you will be much happier.
Adopting these healthy habits will not only make you feel great, but they will also make you a better teacher. Children learn by example, and when they see their teacher is healthy and happy, then they will want to adopt these habits too. And remember, if you’re consistent and follow these tips, then you’ll be on your way to a healthy, happier, stress-free life of teaching.
What are your healthy habits in the teaching profession? Do you follow the habits mentioned above? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.