Teachers Need SEL Too!
September 5, 2022
As educators, we, too often, put the needs of others before our own. We often forget or intentionally avoid the fact that educators on a whole are overwhelmed, overworked, and often don’t have enough time in a day to do all of the things that we need to do for our job, our classrooms, our home lives – let alone our own mental health. Our own self-care often gets neglected in the process.
In an article for Everyday Health, writer Moira Lawler states, “Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.”
Educators must make self-care a priority. Self-care needs to be consistent, personal, and intentional. “Self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing,” says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist based in Connecticut. Self-care is not selfish but something that we should be routinely engaging in for our own emotional well-being.
How can we be more intentional about self-care? In an article for Understood.org, writer Brittney Newcomer provides several tips for educators looking to hone in on their self-care routines.
- Set and maintain boundaries. Newcomer states, “From planning lessons to calling families, teachers often take their work home with them. But it’s important to schedule your day to include an actual end time, as well as time for breaks and self-care practices.”
- Acknowledge moments of gratitude and joy. Journaling, Newcomer alludes, is a great way to capture joyous moments throughout your day. What made you smile or laugh today? Write it down!
- Reflect on your feelings and needs. Newcomer states, “It’s important to recognize and name your emotions. When you’re aware of a new feeling, take a moment to reflect. Name the feeling and why you may be feeling that way [and then] think about what you might need at that moment and in the future.” Identifying your current needs – and those that may be recurring in the future – will help you process and work through these feelings at a later point.
- Recognize what is and isn’t in your control. As much as we would like things to go according to plan, sometimes they just don’t. And that’s okay! We have to come to terms with the fact that we are not able to control all the variables that might come across our path on any given day. Newcomer recommends, “Consider making a simple T-Chart to write down what is and isn’t in your control: One thing in your control is the ability to provide your students with a sense of security through classroom routines. One thing outside of your control is how much news kids are exposed to outside of school.”
- Use self-care routines throughout the day. “Starting and ending your day with self-care practices can be very helpful,” Newcomer states. Focus on small moments of gratitude throughout your day and pause for reflection.