7 Holiday Self-Care Tips for Teachers and School Staff
Posted on: December 14, 2020 Time to read: 2 minutes
As an educator, you’ve worked through unprecedented changes. You may have navigated shifts from in-person to online, new routines and policies for student safety, and tensions among students, parents, and faculty.
It’s understandable that teachers and school leaders feel overwhelmed. After a demanding fall semester, it’s essential to take time for yourself. Self-care is an everyday necessity, but the holidays give educators a chance to take a breath and recharge.
Holiday Self-Care Plan for Educators and School Faculty
Develop a self-care plan that includes the seven areas of wellness below:
Physical: Focus on the way you treat your body. Enjoy the extra sleep, prepare healthy meals, and do physical exercise at home or outdoors.
Emotional: Explore your emotions through self-reflection. Connect with a therapist or a good friend, and set aside time to journal your feelings.
Intellectual: Read about topics that interest you, or improve the knowledge of your field. Host discussions with friends and colleagues to share opinions and perspectives.
Social: Connect with friends and family virtually this holiday season, through apps like Zoom or Houseparty.
Spiritual: Meditate and connect with activities that bring you fulfillment. If you’re religious, find ways to safely connect with your community.
Occupational: Equip yourself with the skills to succeed by reading books and watching webinars. This can also help you catch up on professional development requirements.
Practical: Take care of day-to-day tasks that may have piled up, like taking care of your home and doing errands.
Continuing Self-Care After the Holidays
As you return to the classroom after the break, remember these tips:
Set and maintain boundaries.
Even when the break ends, it’s critical that you continue to find the time to practice self-care. Especially if you are teaching remotely, the line between work and downtime can blur and lead to burnout.
Set aside a time when all planning and grading end, so you can focus on yourself, your friends, family and hobbies. Keep up with your physical health, by taking time to meal prep healthy meals and exercise regularly.
Ask for help when you need it.
If you’re struggling with issues, like students falling behind, low engagement or behavior problems, you are not alone. Many new reports show that students nationwide are struggling to catch up or retain information. Teachers everywhere are struggling to address students’ academic and social needs.
If you’re seeing issues with students, or you see deficits in resources or support, identify your struggles and feelings, and speak to experienced colleagues, department heads, and school leadership about what tools can help you succeed. Administrators must work to create a culture of support by incorporating practices that encourage feedback, like check-ins and small-group sessions.
Embrace your mistakes and learn from them.
Sometimes, lessons or initiatives can be hit-or-miss, especially as you adjust to new practices. The way you handle students day-to-day can fall flat. In a world of teacher accountability, it can be easy to be very critical of yourself.
Practice mindfulness and focus on the things you can control. Just as you encourage a growth mindset in your students, you should do the same for yourself and your colleagues. Create a framework for yourself and teachers to assess mistakes constructively and support success.
Why Adult Self-Care and Wellness Are Critical to School Success
Emotions matter. Encouraging self-care and prioritizing wellness among colleagues not only demonstrates care for your team, but also aligns with school goals like improving school climate, student-teacher relationships, and classroom management.
A study from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence suggests that teachers mandated to teach social emotional learning did not cultivate their own practice and worsened their students’ SEL skills. Teachers who cultivated their own SEL were able to improve their own wellness and the social, emotional, and academic development of their students.
Looking to improve school climate? Ensure that your faculty has the support they need. 3rd Millennium Classrooms offers online courses for prevention education and sanctions. Learn more about how our online courses can help you meet student needs and provide restorative discipline by scheduling a call today.