teacher life,  teaching life,  work/life balance

Take care of yourself!

If I learned only one thing in 2017, it was the importance of taking care of yourself.  In this field, so much of our time and attention are demanded. We must be present at all times and consistently observing and recording, all while preparing for what will come next.  We have to do this with a smile on our face, while dealing with difficult behaviors and unrealistic expectations.  It’s exhausting and it can really take a toll on you.

I firmly believe that you can’t care for anyone else until you have cared for yourself.  Unfortunately, it can feel selfish to tell others no in order to do something nice for you.  I’ve decided that I’m ok with that, but it took a long time for me to get there – and I still forget it often. 

There are a couple of strategies that have helped me make the most of my “Me time.” First, I try to schedule time for myself regularly – at least three times a month.  This might sound like a lot if you’re really struggling to find even one hour for yourself, but it absolutely can be done if you prioritize it. 

My calendar fills up fast, so I sit down at the beginning of the month and try to find little openings.  It might be a weekday afternoon after a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment, a sunday evening when I know things will be quiet at home, or a morning when I can leave for work a little earlier and squeeze in some extra quiet time at Starbucks.  These little things give me something to look forward to all month. 

I don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money in order to take good care of yourself.  I’m a huge fan of a long shower and at home spa session. I also love wandering around Target (although that one can end up costing me a lot), and quiet time to read on my patio. 

The second strategy that has helped me take advantage of unexpected free time for myself is to keep a list on my phone of things that I love doing, these are things that make me feel refreshed and energize.  This list comes in handy when I have some unexpected time because I can pull out the list and pick something quick! I make sure that I have a variety of activities at different price points too so that I can choose an option that fits whatever situation I’m in at the time. 

Here are some of my all time favorite things to do:

  • Get a manicure or pedicure
  • Spend time quilting or crafting
  • Just wander my favorite stores
  • Bake cookies
  • Read a book
  • Settle in with my laptop for a work session at starbucks
  • Go shopping with friends
  • Take a long drive with the windows down and the radio up
Think about it… what would you put on your list?

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