Today's Self-Care Sunday feature is brought to you by Lisa R. Lisa is a 10th year Kindergarten teacher at a very diverse, low-income school district in central New Jersey. She enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends, watching The Golden Girls and The Walking Dead, and eating chocolate chip cookies. She is a big supporter of practicing kindness and loves to spread positivity. Follow her blog on Tumblr.
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Teachers are amazing people. We juggle endless chaos for ten months of the year and, during the other two months, the level of chaos only slightly lessens, if at all. Teaching can suck a lot out of a person; teachers are so giving, caring, focused, driven, and organized. We have a million things on our minds at any given time. It’s incredibly rewarding, but also pretty exhausting. With the constant pull of everything going on, between dealing with administration, lesson planning, mandates, testing, meetings, parent meetings (the list goes on…), it’s easy for burn out to happen. I, myself, have felt it. I felt it as early as the first year, and now, having finished my ninth year, I still have my moments, but I have found something that has been incredibly helpful, not only for myself as a teacher, but as a whole person and that tool is mindfulness. With a few simple exercises, bringing awareness to the moment and making time for self-care, I definitely noticed a major improvement in my ability to manage stress, especially the stress of teaching.
Earlier this year, I met with a fantastic counselor who taught me a lot about stress management. The ideas she shared not only helped me to find calm and feel aware in my daily personal life, but also became a great support during the school year as well.
Basically, mindfulness is awareness - being focused on the present moment; bringing attention to things like your breathing, how your feet feel as they touch the ground or your posture. It’s all about noticing your feelings and thoughts as they are happening.
Now, I know, getting “out of your own head” and focusing on the present moment can seem impossible, especially in our line of work, but I can say that even just doing a few quick exercises can make a difference and over time, they can become an easy routine, a safe haven during stressful times. So often we are thinking about what is coming or what we have to do which takes us away from the present moment. We miss out on things or start to feel frazzled because we’re always thinking about the next thing that needs to get done and it takes us away from the now.
mindfulness techniques to try:
Mindfulness can seem impossible, but with a few short exercises, making the time for yourself and trying them out, you may find it’s easier than you thought. Mindfulness is something you can grow and develop with practice and once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy to make time and to fit even short activities into your day.
Over time, mindfulness and awareness have become a part of me, just as I’ve grown into being grateful and positive, I’ve become more mindful and aware just by making a little time for myself, even if it’s just a minute in the morning. I have noticed a major improvement in my ability to handle stress, to appreciate the moment, and to be aware. I know if mindfulness is something that is important to you or if you’re looking for a way to feel less stress, anxiety, or worry, these exercises may be helpful to you, too.
The Snarky Schoolteacher is an education and lifestyle blog run by dedicated educational professionals. Our goal is to bring you relevant and fun educational content with a side of sass. Read more about our team here. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you will find these ideas and resources helpful in your classrooms and in your lives.