Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?
The end of the fall semester at Metropolitan State University of Denver – which to many was another challenging, stressful, sometimes-chaotic one – it is a great time to remember the critical need to prioritize self-care and wellness. The importance of unwinding to give yourself time for a healthy, revitalizing winter break must be near the top of your to-do list. Or even better: Throw out that to-do list and work on your personal wellness to rejuvenate.
Take a SIP of this: Rejuvenation
Take the time for a temporary respite every day, even if it is only 15 minutes. If you can, let that time grow to 30 minutes, an hour, an afternoon, a day or, if you dare, a week. Allow yourself to put down your responsibilities, work or problems. Did you know that getting away from everything teaches you exactly what you love? It is rejuvenating, therapeutic and healthful to step away. When was the last time you took time just for you? Take a step back to care for yourself.
In the early stages of the pandemic, we had “too much time” and some folks even became bored. People started new hobbies such as baking bread or fine-tuned their golf game; some even learned to play cribbage. Then, life started to get back to a sort of new normal, and life’s realities ramped up again. Let’s remember the slower pace that life can be. Schedule your self-care and commit to your schedule. Know that you can control only the controllable and that you can control yourself. To help you rejuvenate over the winter break, below is a list of possible ideas to help you unwind.
- Say “no” to more things without feeling guilty.
- Do one thing every week that scares you. Challenge and grow yourself – you’ll feel better as a person, and your confidence will soar.
- Learn breathing techniques. Take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds. Slowly release the breath, and wait five seconds before taking another breath. Do this multiple times a day.
- Schedule two-week or monthlong holidays throughout the year, just because.
- Schedule days in your month to do absolutely nothing.
- Allow buffer time (30 minutes to an hour) in your schedule, so you’re not rushing from one thing to another.
- Be a little unpredictable; be spontaneous.
- Do what you love. Give yourself time to be creative.
- Pamper yourself. Get a massage. Spend a day at the spa or give yourself a manicure and enjoy a long hot bath. Add bath salts and fragrant bubbles to your bath.
- If it is at all possible, turn off your cellphone and computer without having a panic attack.
- Create a self-care ritual that includes exercise, meditation, reading, writing or saying affirmations.
- Make time for meal breaks, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Turn technology off, don’t try to multitask and just enjoy your meal.
- Practice extreme self-care weekly as a non-negotiable. Have a checklist with your favorite self-care practices and tick them off as you complete them throughout the week.
- Keep a journal at the end of each day. Share your thoughts and feelings for the day. Write in your journal like you’re talking to your best friend – let everything out.
- Keep a gratitude journal – listing three positive/gratitude items a day may change the way our brain is wired to see more positive things.
- Practice daily meditation and/or yoga. Attend an introductory class at the gym or use a yoga app.
- Take a few minutes to review SIP 12.10: Prioritizing self-care and SIP 13.8: Taking care of ourselves first.
- Take time to care for you. Making your revitalization a priority will reinforce the teacher you want to be.
Still thirsty? Take a SIP of this:
Rankin, J.G. (2016). First Aid for Teacher Burnout: How You Can Find Peace and Success (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315622477
Schwartz, T. & McCarthy, C. (2007). Manage Your Energy Not Your Time. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time
Skovholt, T.M. & Trotter-Mathison, M. (2010). The Resilient Practitioner: Burnout Prevention and Self-Care Strategies for Counselors, Therapists, Teachers, and Health Professionals, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203893326