Episode 54 of The Teaching Space Podcast will help you learn to prioritise self-care even when you have no time.
Teachers are so Busy
Teachers are the busiest people I know (I wrote a book about it!) The vast majority of them are awful at prioritising themselves and self-care just doesn’t form part of their day. I understand why. Our job is all about our learners. They come first every single time. I get it. The problem is this:
If you do not look after yourself, you are not best placed to look after anyone else. It’s just like when you are on an aircraft and they do the safety announcement. In the event of an emergency you are expected to put your oxygen mask on before you help anyone else with theirs.
Now, I am not comparing teaching to a plane crash - I promise. But you take my point.
If you need me to phrase it this way, I will: you have a professional responsibility to care for yourself. I don’t want you to do it because your job demands it. I want you to do it for you. If you have ever thought of self-care as selfish, you need to flip that. If you are concerned with giving your best to others, then NOT caring for yourself is selfish.
A Bit Woo-Woo
Until recently, I thought the concept of self-care was a bit woo-woo (a lot of my teacher colleagues seemingly agree). And if you are close to skipping this episode because you think I will force you to meditate - please don’t. The message is important.
I should add, before we start, that I am coming at this episode from the perspective of someone who has only recently discovered the power of self-care. I am not an expert.
What is Self-Care?
I rather like Maria Baratta’s definition as seen on Psychology Today:
“Self care in essence is the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.”
I like what she says about “you being cared for by you”.
Self-care means different things to different people. For some, it’s exercise, for others it’s going to the dentist when you have a toothache (preferably before!)
My self-care practice usually involves getting enough sleep (I need a lot), getting fresh air and flexing my creative muscles.
How do I Make Time?
Don’t fill every slot of time on your calendar.
Reassess your self-imposed deadlines and standards (episode 39).
Adjust your morning and/or evening routines.
Walk when you wouldn’t normally.