This is a year like no other. In a recent article by the CBC, they share that “Teachers say return to school this fall has left them with overwhelming stress and a never-ending workload” and whether living in hot spots or areas with few cases, teachers are all sharing these similar concerns.
When I ask my colleagues how they are, their responses go from “this is hard” or “I’m more tired than ever” and “I’m taking one long day at a time.” Whether you’re teaching completely virtual, hybrid, or in person, it is all different and comes with a huge learning curve. For many of us, the stress leaves our bodies tired, our thoughts heavy and our emotions weary.
And, unfortunately, there is no magic wand to make it all instantly go away. What we do need to do is give ourselves lots of permission to go slow, stay as present as possible and to trust that we can get through this. Just remember, dear ones, to be gentle with yourself as you’re doing the best that you can during a really difficult time.
Often when things are hard, we are encouraged to just up our self-care game. Sometimes this can be frustrating as it doesn’t solve all the challenges and puts more responsibility back on us when we are already tired. However, as we struggle with stress, burnout and overwhelm, caring for ourselves amongst it all is one of the best things we can actually do. Self-care is the behavioural practice of self-compassion. When we practice from a place of caring for ourselves in a kind and loving way, we realize that caring for ourselves is a compassionate practice that enables us to cope in this ever-changing and complicated world.
Now, I know you are all intelligent beings, so I’m not going to tell you anything new here, I’m just going to give you a gentle reminder of the top six practices I use to care for myself when things are extra hard. These are not meant to be onerous or take up a lot of time. In fact, they are simple and easy and ones you can do all-day long – the hardest part is usually just remembering to do them!
Let me know which is your favourite to practice!!
Here are my six daily practices I use to support well-being.
- Drink water. And lots of it because these face-masks are drying us out and we forget to drink all day. Stop and take a drink of your water bottle every twenty minutes. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and they need refilling!
- Take many long, deep breaths throughout the day. The kind that fills your whole lungs and body with nourishment on the inhale and allows you to release and let go on the exhale. Try one now
- Get outside. As my children’s preschool used to say, there is no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothes. Grab a scarf and a pair of boots and breathe in the fresh air and soak up the vitamin D.
- Move your body. Walk, run, swim, hike, workout, dance (kitchen dance parties with my kids while making dinner are my favourite)… it doesn’t matter what you do – just do something. I have never gone for a walk after work and came home and wished that I hadn’t. I’m always glad I moved my body.
- Find stillness. Rest. Read. Journal. Take a long bubble bath. Meditate for a few minutes every day. We need stillness in our lives to recharge and heal. A few moments every day to ground you and bring you back to the moment is essential. Bonus (check out the growing community in the new Facebook world: Self-Compassion for Educators for regular practices.
- Practice gratitude. Take the time to appreciate all the little things, the big things, and the people in our lives and around our life that bring ease to our world.
Check out my latest gratitude practice below.