Teaching kids can be trying. As a mom, I’ve found it necessary to give myself room to breathe, space to enjoy “non-kid things” and often times just pull myself together and breathe. Guess what…the same goes for being a teacher.
There is a wonderful saying “you cannot serve from an empty cup.” The truth is you can’t be supportive to kids when you’re running on empty (or close to empty). You need to understand that your health (physical and mental) are vital.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Never stop learning
Knowledge provides two things: support and confidence. I have found that the more I learned about kids the more confident I felt about how to help them cope, handle situations and even advocate for them.
Find a network of teachers that you can talk with. When you are stress, you tend to feel isolated. You’re not alone and you don’t deserve to feel as if you are. Find a group that can support you! Find your tribe!
Ask for help
Tell your partner, friends, and family how you feel. Others probably don’t have any idea how you are feeling. If they don’t know, they can’t help. Be open about how they can help.
A very kind doctor told me that stress hormones, are actually shed when you cry. That means crying provides a healthy way to eliminate harmful stress hormones. This is why you feel so good after you cry!
Find “Me” time
Is there something you enjoy? Maybe taking a walk or having a cup of tea? Do that thing every day. This might mean asking friends or family to support other areas of your life so that you can take a break. If you can, switch off care duties with your partner and “cover” for each other so you can take a break if you have kids of your own at home.
Eat Healthy Foods
Make sure you pay close attention to what you eat and drink. Listen to what your body needs. When at all possible, do not skip meals or simply rely on a cup of coffee to be your “morning meal”. Seek foods that provide lots of energy and are full of nutrients.
Exercise and Sleep
Exercising and getting plenty of sleep are vital for everyone. There are many ways one can exercise without hitting the gym, if that’s not your thing. I love taking a walk with my child in the evenings and doing Yoga in the living room. There are some great mobile apps that can help you stay motivated. Just get up and move!
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Often when we are feeling overwhelmed or overburdened, we begin to blame ourselves for things that in all honesty, we never had control over. If you find that you are blaming yourself for everything, stop and refocus on something positive. Focus on the positives and not the negatives.
Being a teacher is a wonderful career. Just don’t let yourself get burnt out!