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Self-Care as Professional Development
January 31, 2019
Character is power.
-Booker T. Washington

“Self-care is not selfish,” proclaims an article on the Bored Teachers website that urges teachers and administrators both to think of self-care as critically important professional development. The article offers a few easy ways for teachers to incorporate self-care into each day:

“1. Keep snacks and treats in your desk {or personal space}: 
These are just for you, you don’t have to share. They aren’t everyday snacks but treats for moments when you’re feeling especially stressed and need to take a quick break.

2. Practice some desk yoga:
Consider replacing your desk chair with a yoga ball. Several times a day, take a few moments to stretch. Stretch your legs, your arms, your torso. Focus on the sensations in your body.

3. Focus on your breathing in a mindful moment:
…Deep belly breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. 

4. Make positive connections with parents:
Positivity breeds happiness, so take a moment to call or write a note to parents/guardians to tell them how awesome their kid is doing in your classroom. 

5. Keep a happy file:
Collect the notes from students, parents, colleagues, administrators that praise you and tell you about the difference you are making in the lives of students. Put them in a file folder in a special place in your classroom. After a discouraging day, flip through the contents – it’s guaranteed to give you a smile.

6. Drink water:
Put down the soda, coffee and energy drinks and hydrate. 

7. Bring comfort into the classroom:
Personal comfort items, like a fuzzy rug…or a framed family photo, bring a touch of home into your classroom.

8. Set an end time for the end of your day – and stick to it:
It’s easy to listen to the siren song of “one more thing” calling your name at the end of each work day. Decide on a time to “clock out” each morning and leave the building.

9. Shut your door, put up a do not disturb sign and get some work done:
Self-care isn’t always fun. Sometimes, the most important thing you can do for yourself is cross things off the do-to list. It’s okay to politely tell your colleagues at the end of the day that you would love to chat but really need to get some work done instead.

10. Eat lunch with colleagues, not kids:
Make time to talk to fellow adult friends every once in a while instead of staying in your classroom to tutor students or run lunchtime clubs.”

Source: “Self-Care Is Not Selfish, Self-Care Is Professional Development,” www.boredteachers.com

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