Making more time for yourself will lead you to being more productive and happier at work. Healthy and happy teachers don’t feel guilty about saying no. They don’t over-work themselves to make things perfect. Embracing self-care and making time for yourself is essential. After all teaching really is, just a job.
Wellbeing 101 means getting enough sleep, exercising a few hours each week and spending time doing things you enjoy. If the thought of doing these things during term time riddles you with guilt or makes you feel overwhelmed, then it’s time to reassess:
Are you really giving your students the best by coming to school feeling depleted? Is this fair to them, or more importantly, to yourself?
Optimum physical and mental health starts with quality sleep. Before you can get proper rest, your busy day need to be distant memory. If your morning alarm is set for 6.30 AM you need to be in bed before 10.
If you want to fall asleep easily, you need to ensure that you are winding down well before you climb into bed. Reading, a warm shower or watching TV can help clear your mind. Make marking, checking emails or planning lessons before bed, a thing of the past.
On that note, wherever possible – stop reinventing the wheel. Its ok to recycle your old and faithful classroom activities. You can also find plenty of new quality Australian resources online using sites like Tes.com
Marking is another thing that is a massive time suck. This year, why not try shortening your lessons and incorporating time for marking at the end? Getting students to mark their own work in class means that by the end of the period the books are marked; with nothing for you to carry home.
To make time for what’s important in your life, you first need to identify what that is. This could be walking the dog, spending time with family, or making sure you get to the gym at least three times a week. Whatever it ends up being – mark the times in your diary. Ensure that when you schedule work commitments nothing overlaps. Mark in everything like lunch and driving, to make sure you're achieving a successful work-life balance!
For your school year to be rewarding it needs to be not all about school. Looking after yourself and your family needs to come first. Don’t feel guilty because all other working professionals are doing this! You may not get all these self-care tips down, but trying is a good start. Prioritising self-care over time will lead to a happy and rewarding career in teaching.
If you have more tips on teacher wellbeing, we would love to hear from you!