Self-Care for Teachers {Easy Ideas You Can Start Using Now}

Teaching is hard. It is mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically challenging. Which is why I'm a huge proponent of self-care. This post is for all my fellow teachers who are overworked and worn out. This post is your reminder that it's OK to take time out of your day/week to take care of yourself. Your productivity and well being depend on it.


What is self-care?  It's the deliberate act of taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. In other words, it's all about doing things (on purpose) for yourself that make you feel as awesome as you really are.   

Real talk. You cannot be effective in your job if you aren't taking care of yourself.  It's also harder to enjoy your job when you're worn out, stressed, anxious, tired, and/or all of the above.  And, let's be honest, when you're feeling this way because of work, it also affects your personal/family life. 

More real talk.  This year has been my most challenging year to date.  The stress levels during the first few months of school were scary high.  So, I started upping my self-care game. I mean, I've always worked out and found time to relax, but this year, I have had to do more for myself.

But guess what?  It's been worth it.  Making the time to take care of myself regularly has helped improve my stress/anxiety, and my overall mood.  Which means I am better at what I do, and I can more effectively overcome the challenges that I'm faced with each day (which are improving one bit at a time because I have the stamina and mindset to better address them).

Self-care comes in many forms, and usually looks different from person to person. In other words, I don't think there is one single way to focus on yourself.  We're all different, after all.  ;)

If you're looking for some easy ideas, look no further. Many of these ideas are so simple that you can start using them now. I separated the ideas into two price range categories.  I mean, on a daily basis, I like to keep it simple (and cheap). But, every once and while, a splurge is in order.  Finally, be sure to do something for yourself each day.  In the long run, you won't regret it.

Cost Effective Ideas ($)

Take a bubble bath 
Fancy bubble bath is not required.  I'm not above using my daughter's bubble bath solution, but Bath and Body Works products are my favorite. More specifically, their aromatherapy line is to die for. I like to stock up when they have their Buy 3, Get 3 deal going on.



Read a book or magazine
Do this while you're in the tub.  They go together like milk and cookies!  

Watch your favorite show or movie...by yourself 
This can also be done while in the tub...what can I say, I'm always multi-tasking, even when taking care of myself.

Give yourself a DIY mani/pedi
A set of freshly painted toes always makes me feel happy and pulled together. Plus, the process takes my mind off other things, and I can easily complete this task while listening to my favorite music.

Enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing on the couch
Don't multi-task and drink your wine as you hustle to put dinner on the table. That isn't very relaxing.  Enjoy your drink without trying to do your chores at the same time.

Light a candle and unwind
If you don't drink, you can still sit on that couch and unwind.  Add a scented candle to the mix and you'll be feeling better in no time.


Exercise 
I work out 6 days a week.  In the morning.  Before school starts.  It gives me the energy I need to make it through a day of teaching, and helps manage my stress levels. Earlier this year, I signed up for Beachbody on Demand.  It's a lot cheaper than a gym (less than $10 a month!), gives me lots of options, and I don't have to go anywhere.

Give yourself a facial
You can find so many cost friendly facial mask options at stores like Target or Walgreens.  They offer options from sheet masks to clay masks.  Pick your favorite and start cleansing and purifying that pretty little face of yours.


Spend some time with friends
Grab your bestie and head to your local coffee shop or mall. Hang out and talk. Laugh until your bellies hurt. Sometimes we just need some friend time to take our minds off other things and to remind us that we are more than just a teacher (or mom, or dad...).

Indulge in something you love
For the most part, I try to eat as healthy as I can, but sometimes, it just feels good to indulge in a bowl of decadent ice cream. I also like to visit the local Ben and Jerry's for the fresh stuff. You don't always have to indulge in food, of course. Choose your "guilty pleasure" and enjoy!

Go to bed
You need sleep.  It's a basic human necessity. As an adult, you need at least 7 to 8 hours a night. Are you getting that much sleep each night?  Make it a priority to give your body the rest it needs each night.

Time to Splurge! ($$)

Get a mani/pedi at a salon
Sometimes I want to have my nails done at the nail salon.  It's more relaxing than when I do my own nails. Paraffin wax treatments and foot massages are the best!

Get a massage
Whether it's a once in a while splurge, or a monthly occurrence, you won't be sorry.  At my husband's urging, I get at least one massage a month. My neck and shoulders are a real problem area. All my stress goes there. Regular visits have really helped me both physically and mentally. Check your area for businesses that might offer a membership program, like Massage Envy.  Some massage schools offer discounted massages as well.

Get a facial
I have yet to do this, but I do look forward to indulging in this splurge one day.

Get away
Whether you take a staycation or visit the next town over, a short getaway every once in a while is a great way to relax and have some fun.

Fellow teachers, if you aren't already doing so, please start making yourself a priority.  It's easy to neglect our own needs, or to misinterpret them as wants. But, if you purposefully make time for yourself each day, you won't be sorry. Pinky swear.

If you're just getting started with regular self-care, aim to set aside 15-20 minutes a day for yourself and choose your favorite ideas from the list above.  If you're a pro when it comes to self-care, I'd love for you to comment below and share your favorite way of taking care of yourself.  :)

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