It's hard to manage the stress and responsibility of being a teacher if you haven't taken care of yourself. Choose something from the list below or create your own list and then start taking better care of yourself--right away!
1. Invest in a massage or a facial. Your face and body get tensed up while you're teaching, thinking about school, grading papers, standing at an assembly, or whatever else you have going on. Getting a massage or facial and having this sort of soothing and healing touch is worth every penny (and every minute) you invest.
2. Listen to your favorite music. It might be in the car on the way to work or on the way home or in your classroom or office. Wherever it might be, choose some music that either relaxes or energizes you (whichever one you need most!)
3. See your doctor for a "tune-up." It's easy to let your health take a back seat to other demands on your time and energy. Before long, unfortunately, if you don't make sure your health is in good order, you won't have the vitality you need to make a difference with students.
4. Have good smells around you. What smell is it that just makes you smile? It doesn't need to be anything overpowering, but maybe there's a light scent that you can plug in or a jar of scented oil to have around. Something pleasant and soothing. Just for you.
5. Seek out acupuncture. I have had two medical acupuncturists, both of whom are M.D.s and highly-trained practitioners of acupuncture. They know the best of both worlds. I used to have migraines frequently and now rarely do--and they are mild in comparison. It's worth the time and money. I have no idea why it works, but it does.
6. Go to a restaurant--by yourself or with someone. Order just what you like. Three sides of mashed potatoes are NOT out of the question. You spend so much time giving of yourself to others. Take yourself out to eat.
7. Breathe--deeply and often. Breathing is stress reducing, energizing, calming, and healthy. I don't think there are any good reasons not to breathe deeply right now--and throughout your day.
8. Hang out in a book store. Most bookstores today are set up to be inviting places. Take advantage of this. Many of the large and small bookstores have special events that honor teachers, so you might want to find out what is available for you.
9. See a chiropractor. If your back is killing you or if your mouse arm goes to sleep at night when you're sleeping (thereby waking you up), then a chiropractor can help you. Deep tissue massage makes a difference, too.
10. Listen to books, seminars, speeches, affirmations, or whatever floats your boat--on tape, CD, or MP3. My car is a rolling classroom and library. I only wish I had discovered this option when I was in graduate school and driving at least 2 hours a day back and forth to the university. It would have made the drive so much more enjoyable and I would have learned so much, too.
One or more of these ideas will make a difference in your overall approach to your teaching, your life, and your productivity. Make a decision to implement at least one this week. Maybe even make a call right now. . .
Teachers have the most influential positions in our society--and need every bit of support that can be mustered. Two resources that will help increase educators’ sense of peaceful, predictable productivity are Meggin's weekly emails.
(c) 2008 by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., "The Ph.D. of Productivity"(tm). Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh changes what people know, feel, dream, and do. Sound interesting? It is!