Wellness for Teachers

Wellness for Teachers4es blog 19

Wellbeing or the new term wellness is something many of us push to the back of our mind. We have busy lifestyles. It’s sometimes very hard to juggle work, family, exercise and a social life. 

The Early Childhood Education profession is female dominated which means we are often even more stretched as we are devoting time to looking after students as well as generally having a dominant role in family life. Being the battlers that we are it is often wellness or time for ourselves that suffers. There is a lot of research and emphasis on the wellbeing of children in our care and there is a whole strand in Te Whaariki dedicated to this. But what about the teachers?

Teachers have many persistent challenges facing them including high attrition and low staff retention rates with many new teachers only lasting one year and almost half not getting to five years, inadequate support in induction and mentoring processes, low social and career prospects and unacceptable levels of teacher burnout. And yet research shows us that ‘Well’ teachers are a crucial component of highly progressive ECE centres and schools, teachers who establish healthy work-life balance have more energy and serve as healthy lifestyle role models for children.

So how can you help with your own wellness? I’ve found 21 great tips to help restore you to a more relaxed ‘well’ person so as the teacher part of you can be less stressed, overwhelmed and anxious and more peaceful, connected and tuned in. I don’t have enough space here to tell you about them all so I’ll choose five to share and to find out the rest you’ll have to watcher my “Wellness for Teachers webinar

The first is simple. Breathe. You can trick your brain into thinking everything is fine with slow, deliberate breathing.

Number two is Move. Get your body moving! Even if you think you have no time for a formal exercise programme, do something! Use the stairs instead of the lift/escalator, walk for the school pick up/drop off, do 10 minutes of yoga. You will be surprised that you can actually see and feel the stress-relieving benefits from a minor activity like jumping jacks!

For number three I’m going to set you a challenge, A Re-hydration challenge. We know we need to drink lots of water but our busy lifestyles often make it tough to drink enough. Water cleanses our bodies inside and out and they require a lot of water to function properly. Our nervous system is 76% water, muscles 75% water, blood 82% and lungs 90% We often think it’s fine because we are drinking plenty of fluid in general, but it’s not the same. Water is the optimal hydrating substance. Everyone has different levels of water their body needs so it’s important to tune into body and find the optimal amount for you. Different situations result in body needing different levels of water such as, talking a lot, exercising a lot or being sleep deprived. So the challenge is to drink 3 litres of water everyday. You’ll notice a difference and your face may even thank you as well!

Fourthly, ALWAYS stop for lunch. It is vitally important to allow your body to refuel. Those workplace martyrs that tell you they have survived all day on a piece of toast and coffee, IGNORE them! It is vital for your body to break and stop. Everyone benefits from a rest and refuel. Teaching is a demanding profession so you must be fuelled up or you run the risk of falling flat and burning out. The best way to refuel is in a healthy way and you will see optimal health with clean foods.

And lastly, the Importance of sleep. Margaret Thatcher would boast that she could function on 4hrs sleep! This is very doubtful! Research shows we need a regular bedtime and should aim for 7-8hrs sleep. Again, as we know teaching is an intense profession, so sleep is essential. Sleep deprivation can mean tasks take much longer and are often not completed to the standard you want. Try setting a wind down routine, much like we do for children.

  • Have a set bedtime
  • Start to relax
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Bath
  • Read
  • Dim lights
  • Devices off
  • Inviting, comforting sleeping area with cool temp

Remember that tomorrow is another day!

Interested in learning more about this topic? Check out our course – Wellness for Teachers – via the Online Learning Hub.

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