By Teachers, For Teachers
What does your daily routine look like? Is it productive? Does it nurture your overall well-being and your sense of teacher wellness?
If it doesn’t, then you should take a second look at it. The numbers are rising for teachers seeking mental health support. If your daily ritual consists of going through a drive-through and getting fast food, yelling at students, or rushing around and never making time for yourself, then you need to make some changes toward your own teacher wellness.
Developing a healthy, productive daily routine is a great way to increase your energy and overall wellbeing. Teaching is an important job, you are shaping the next generation, and if you’re too stressed, or partake in unhealthy daily rituals, then you won’t be able to do your job effectively. However, by developing healthy rituals which you practice every day without even thinking about, you’ll be in the best state (mentally and physically) that you can be in. Here are a few suggested teacher wellness rituals.
The key to starting your day off on the right foot is find a ritual that makes you feel good. This routine must suit your lifestyle and needs, but also enhance your quality of life. Meditation, morning journaling, drinking warm lemon water, taking a walk, or doing yoga are all healthy and productive ways to start the day. If none of these ideas fits into what you think a good morning looks like, then you can try something else. Just having the morning ritual of a nice, hot shower can increase your mood and well-being. If you are the kind of person that needs coffee first thing in the morning, just avoid adding a sugar-laden donut to your breakfast. The goal is to start the day as peacefully and productively as you can, while still making the best and healthiest choices for yourself.
Slowing down sounds easier said than done, right? When you slow down your life, you also slow down your mind. Teachers’ minds can be compared to about 20 open computer tabs with all of the things going on in their lives. When you take the time to free some space in your mind, it will help you relax and create some space for something new. Instead of using your lunch break as a working lunch to grade papers, create a daily ritual of eating a healthy lunch, then walking around the school with your colleagues. You can also use this time to mindfully meditate or get in a few minutes of yoga. You can even create a ritual where you slow down and read a book for a few minutes a day. Embrace your inner silence and create a daily ritual that will help you slow down and relax. Here are few more suggestions:
Ending your day can have a great impact on how well you sleep at night. If your after school daily ritual is driving your children from one place to another, getting fast food for dinner, or spending the night working, you’ll end up in bed wide awake and stressed out. You must make some changes that will benefit your overall health and well-being. You can start by finding people to carpool with for your children’s activities, then you can start the ritual of meal prep on Sunday, where you make all of your meals for the week, instead of getting unhealthy fast food. Next, you can designate one or two days a week to go in early or stay after school to finish your paperwork instead of bringing it home with you. It’s all about finding a ritual that works well for you. Schedule activities that will support your best life -- this will enable you to be more effective and efficient.
The power of a ritual is that you feel better after you do it. Consciously (and unconsciously) performing the same activities every day not only gives you stability, but it also grounds you and increases your overall well-being. When teachers arrive at school being their very best selves, they will not only be more productive and effective teachers, but they’ll also be better able to handle anything that comes their way.
Do you have a teacher wellness ritual that you follow?
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 a master’s 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.