Everyone will tell you that you should be healthy, that you should do this, that you should eat that! But as a teacher, you know that sometimes it’s just not that easy to do what’s good for you. Early morning lectures can be a good enough reason to grab a bottle of soda and munch on last night’s leftover pizza before jumping in the car and driving while texting.
But there’s more than eating healthy and nutritious foods and getting enough sleep (hah!). Being healthy also means having a positive outlook in life, enjoying what you do, managing your stress well, and maintaining a work-life balance.
Teachers are often on the go, so it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. We’ll tell you that it doesn’t have to be challenging to stay healthy as a teacher. Here are some tips:
Start Your Day with a Hearty Breakfast:
We know you’ve been getting that one since you were a school-going kid. But it is the main meal of the day! It provides you with the energy and nutrients to power through your morning classes. So, make sure you sit down to have a healthy breakfast every day.
Again, a healthy and hearty breakfast doesn’t mean a bag of chips and fudge. Instead, try incorporating some protein and fiber into your breakfast with whole-grain toast, eggs, Greek yogurt, or oatmeal.
And if you’re pressed for time in the mornings, try making a quick breakfast smoothie with some fresh fruits, yogurt, and honey.
Never Stop Growing:
Grading assessments and preparing for the following week’s fundraiser can be stressful. But it’s essential to take some time out for yourself every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
Maybe there is a degree you’re eyeing to pursue because it pays well. The doctorate in education salary, for instance, is significantly higher than that of a teacher. But with all the bustle of school life, you haven’t had the time to look into it. Dedicate some time to researching your degree options to make an informed decision.
You could also read a book, start a new hobby, or join an evening class to learn something new and exciting. When you challenge your mind and learn new things, it helps keep you sharp and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
We know there are enough calories you burn while standing behind your desk all day, shouting over unruly children. But were you aware that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day can improve your cardiovascular health? It also helps you sleep better at night and lower stress levels?
So, make sure you take some time out for a quick walk or run in the park, do some yoga in your living room, or play a game of tag with your students during recess. Just ensure you get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes every day. Not too much to ask, is it?
If you’re still not enthralled with working out, consider joining forces with a friend or family member. According to research, people accompanied by a partner are more likely to keep up their exercise routine.
Minimize your Screen Time:
We’re all covertly guilty of utilizing our phones to excess. Did you know that looking at screens for long periods can cause headaches, neck discomfort, and dry eyes? It can also cause fatigue and disrupt your sleep cycle.
So, make an effort to put your phone away when you’re not using it. Set a timer for 30 minutes and focus on your work without interruptions. Once the timer ticks, take a quick break to check your phone.
You could also try setting some boundaries for yourself. For instance, you could decide not to use your phone after a certain time in the evening or to keep it off your bedside table. So you’re not tempted to check social media before going to bed.
Learn to Say No:
Students and their parents have a way of getting under our skin sometimes. But it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone all the time. So, practice saying no when you need to without feeling guilty about it.
It’s okay to set boundaries and stick to them. You don’t necessarily have to attend every school event or chaperone every field trip. And if a parent or student is asking for something that you’re not comfortable with, don’t hesitate to say no.
Remember, your emotional well-being is crucial! You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure you take care of yourself first.
Only Take on What You Can Handle:
We know that teachers are some of the most hard-working and dedicated people. But sometimes, we try to do too much and burn ourselves out.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and reassess your priorities. Is there anything on your plate that you can delegate to someone else? Do you need to hold back from helping your colleague grade extra papers or planning the school’s annual dinner?
It’s okay to seek help when needed. And it’s also okay to put your own needs first, sometimes.
You’re Allowed Some Fun:
Why is there a stigma around teachers having “fun”? Just because we work with kids doesn’t mean we have to be serious all the time.
Studies have shown that having fun can make you more productive. So, don’t hesitate to let loose and have a little fun now and then. Invite your squad for a girls’ night out, watch a silly movie, or take your students on a field trip to the zoo.
Do whatever makes you the most alive and not feel guilty about it. You are shaping the future, after all. And a happy teacher means a more engaged classroom!
Plan in Advance:
This essential tip applies to all the other discussed points. When you have a plan and know what to expect, you will stay on track with your goals.
The same goes for your health and wellness journey. Knowing what you need to do to stay healthy makes it easier.
So, sit down and list things you need to do to take care of your health. It could include drinking more water, getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly.
Then, make a plan to implement these changes!
Leading healthy lives isn’t easy, but making small changes in our daily routine can go long. However, it’s not restricted to a particular group of people or jobs. It is for everyone who wants to feel good and enjoy a better quality of life. Let’s pledge to take care of ourselves to be at our best for our students. They do deserve nothing less than that!