It is an understatement to say that the demands placed on teachers are greater than ever before. This was true before COVID-19 and then, yet again you were asked to step up to the plate. Despite dealing with all your personal responses to the pandemic, changes in your routines, work, family lives, you were asked to completely pivot the way you teach our children. As an instructor who is trained in virtual instructing, I can tell you it takes something to deliver online programming that delivers on the curriculum, as well as being engaging for students. Beyond all the changes in work, most of you are now working from home with the additional challenges that brings, kids, pets, not having home offices, and whatever else there is for you to deal with. It’s not hard to see how all these things could add up to you experiencing stress, overwhelm, drains on your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual energies.
It is more important, now more than ever, that you make sure you fill up your own buckets ensuring you have the energy necessary to take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your students. So what steps can you take to ensure your energy levels are maintained?
- Ensure you have proper nutrition, make sure you are drinking enough water, and eating food that has great nutritional value for your body.
- Spend at least 30 minutes per day moving in a way that brings you joy; go for a walk, stretch, practice some yoga, riding a bicycle, put on your favourite tunes and get your groove on.
- Make sure you are getting enough rest and that your brain is set up powerfully to sleep, experts say we should get off all devices at least an hour prior to bed.
- Develop your ability to pay attention. Find an activity and give it your undivided attention for 15 minutes.
- Spend 10-15 minutes daily doing puzzles that you find challenging. Sudoku, crosswords, logic and jigsaws puzzles are great ways to replenish your mental energy.
- Reading is a great way to relax and recharge your brain.
- Get into the habit of keeping a journal. 15 minutes a day of writing down your thoughts and emotions will help you replenish your emotional energy.
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day with a person who brings you joy. During this time if you live alone, have a phone conversation or connect over zoom.
- Practice naming your emotions daily. Share those emotions with another person. Start by checking in with yourself to see what your emotional state is once or twice a day.
- Find a way each day to make a difference for others. Helping others is the fastest way to stop feeling overwhelmed by getting your attention off yourself and on to another. (Its counter-intuitive yet try it out)
- Find a community that shares one or more of your passions and connect with them regularly.
- Create a vision board based on the things that are meaningful to you and display it in your workspace. Keeping your purpose present for yourself will go a long way to filling up your cup.
COVID-19 has had many teachable moments, and I know for many parents one of the greatest is getting clear about the difference teachers make everyday for our children, and how blessed we are by their many contributions. From our hearts to yours, thank you for everything you do, and please be kind to yourselves and make sure you are doing everything you need to, to take care of your complete well-being.