Teacher Self Care: How to Recharge During COVID

Teacher Self Care: How to Recharge During COVID

I have seen way too many posts in the last few months from teachers that they are near the breaking point. The workload, concerns about their own health due to COVID, and difficulties balancing work and home are exhausting our teachers. And while teachers may have managed without self care in the past, they just can’t anymore.

Teachers go into education because they love kids. But the unrelenting work, constant changes, and concerns about student equity can become too much. You can’t serve your students well, if you’re not taking care of your physical and mental health. You must come first.

How do we take care of ourselves during these unprecedented times? Let’s talk about self care that will help you make it through these COVID times!

Teacher Self Care: How to Recharge During COVID

self care covid

Allow Yourself to Feel

Have you heard about toxic positivity? If not, you’ve probably seen it. All those feel-good posts that want you to look on the positive – without acknowledging all the things that can keep you from succeeding. Or allowing you to express negative emotions of any sort.

Listen, those messages don’t do us any good. Instead, let yourself feel all the feels – happiness, sadness, grief, anger, and frustration. Sometimes you won’t get it done. And that is fine.

Change Your Standards

Yes, I said it. This has never happened before for any of us. The standards we’ve kept to in the past no longer apply. So, let them go.

I was always a “homework” teacher. Meaning that I believe in the power of homework for teens and almost always assigned it. But I know there is no way I would be assigning much homework this year. It’s too much for my students and for ME. That practice would change radically.

Draw boundaries

If you aren’t used to saying, “no” before, it’s time to start saying it. You need to draw boundaries between work and home life. If you had boundaries in the past, it’s time to redraw them. Most teachers will work, work, and work to assist their students, but that will lead to burnout fast. 

Create work hours that you won’t work past. Quit that committee. Back away from negative Nancys on your staff. Don’t check your work email at night or on the weekends.

Get Away from Screens

You’re already spending hours in front of a computer each day. Your poor eyes and brain desperately need a break. (Psst – if you haven’t already, buy the blue light glasses!) So when you get off the computer, don’t just switch it for another screen. 

One easy way to do that is to step back from some (or all) social media. As part of a goal to lower my screen time, I’m spending way less time on Facebook and Instagram. And it’s helped my mental health considerably.

Mind & Body

So, what do you do instead of scrolling social media? Spend time working on the needs of your mind and body.

We are not meant to sit still. Get outside, exercise, just move around. Exercise will help you feel better, sleep better, and improve your mental health.

Your brain also needs some downtime. Consider some sort of quiet work – journaling, meditation, or prayer. Try what calls to you and gives you a space to process the intense feelings you may be going through right now.

Remember that self care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary for you to keep doing your important work. Given the stresses of life during COVID, self care is more important than ever.

What does self care during COVID look like for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: 8 Ways Teachers Can Practice Self-Care, How to Show Your Students That You Care, How to Be Kind During Self-Isolation

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