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Easy Self Care Tips for Teachers

Let’s level here: October was difficult for me. I am not entirely sure what it was, but it just felt like a struggle every. Single. Day. That doesn’t mean that every day was bad, but it means I had to be super intentional about getting things done and having the right mindset. I had to be really intentional about my self care. And there were still some day where it just wasn’t happening.

Yup, Becca, who always advocates that morning routine slept in multiple times in October.

But you know what? I have faith that November will be better. Not just because we have Thanksgiving break soon, but because I learned a lot about my self care needs while going through the ridiculousness of October.

Side note, did anyone else think that it dragged on forever?

Here are some super simple ideas for self care that you can implement immediately. I’m not suggesting anything crazy. Seriously, super simple. Try them. Then let us know in the comments if they were helpful for you!

Also, if you are interested in getting access to exclusive free resources, sign up for my resource library! I send out two email a month– usually talking about some of the free resources available. Once you get access, you can download as many things as you– and more resources are added every few weeks. Sign up here!

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Leave School at School

First thing is first—leave school at school. Now, I’m not saying you have to leave as soon as the bell rings. I’m saying, don’t bring home a ton of work.

What that says is: you will never escape the work.

And what happens 90% of the time? You bring it home with the intention to work on grading papers while you watch TV. But then you realize at home you have 50 other things to do, so that doesn’t happen. You take the papers back to school tomorrow feeling guilty and ashamed.

A better alternative? Stay a few minutes extra and then leave it at school. I talk about grading hacks in this video if you need some ideas how when to get them done.

But seriously—when you go home, GO HOME.

Now, I will admit, I do often make resources at home. But that is mostly because I am putting them into my TPT shop, so I don’t want to work on them at school, even if they are for school as well.

 

TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK

This is one of the best pieces of advice about self care that I can give you. It’s also one of the things I am the WORST at.

Take your lunch break.

I’ll say it again and let it sink in: take your lunch break.

I know you have 50 thousand things to do. I do too. And every day at lunch I start thinking, I need to do this and this and this.

And then I stop myself and say: take your lunch break.

It really does help. When I take a break at lunch, I feel refreshed and ready to go rather then frustrated and annoyed.

Legistically, how do I accomplish this without shirking my responsibilities?

Normally, I will check my email (I don’t even respond during lunch—just look and see what is in there). If something is urgent I’ll respond, otherwise I leave them unread. Then I look at my to do list and make sure there is nothing that needs to be done prior to my next class (copies or setting out instruments). If I need to call a parent, I will. Otherwise, I leave everything for my planning or after school.

It feels weird. I used to work through lunch every single day. But I promise, it makes a difference. Even if you only take half of your lunch as a break, do it.

Also read: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



Have an activity to get your mind off of school

So once you have left school at school, now what? Do you get home frustrated and annoyed? Still thinking about testing and study guides?

As soon as you get home—or on your way home—find a way to get your mind off of school. Sit down, because you have not sat down all day, and just chill out for a few minutes.

For me, this has been reading. When I get home, I make myself some tea and a snack, and I read. My goal is 30 minutes, but sometimes it’s only 10 or 15, and that’s ok. The point really isn’t the reading. The point is to calm down, sit down, and think about things that are not school.

Admitedly, sometimes the books are school related, but still.

 

Take a bath

This is probably my favorite one—take a bath. Or a hot shower. But seriously—try a bath. Get some Epson salts and bubble bath (you cannot go wrong with my personal favorites right here! They are made for relaxing!) and soak for a little bit. This really does help your body to feel better and help your mind.

Bonus points if you read a book in there.

Which leads me to my next point…



Read a book

You tell your students to read, but when is the last time you read a book that was not education related? When is the last time that you read for fun?

I have been really intentional about getting my reading in (see above for when that happens), and it has made a huge difference. I am learning more and I know even if my day is crappy, I have 15 minutes where I get to read before I have to clean or make dinner or any of that mess. It’s great.

Need a new book? Here are a ton of book recommendations!

A few that I just finished and would highly recommend include The Alchemist, The Odyssey, and I am currently reading Circe, and it is really great so far. I cannot put it down.

 

Play some music

Upon reflection, that looks like you should put on Pandora. Now, that is actually a good idea, but not what I am meaning.

Pick up an instrument.

If you are a music teacher, when is the last time that you played music? I know that seems like a crazy concept.

I had a thought halfway through last year that went along the lines of this: I used to sing for about 2 hours a day. Then I would play piano and cello. And I haven’t practiced anything for months.

That realization was truly eye opening.

Now I plan to practice at least 2-3 times a week. Technically, I have it written down for every day but that doesn’t always happen. After reading, I turn on my keyboard, warm myself up, and flip to the next book in my Gabriel Faure songbook (because who doesn’t love a good French art song?).

It has been really great for me to get back to learning music that wasn’t pentatonic. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I enjoy it, which is why I teach elementary music. But I also enjoy learning difficult arias and art songs. It may take me two months to learn a song I could have previously learned in two weeks, but at least I’m still doing it.

I read a quote on Instagram lately that was something along the lines of, “How can we inspire students to read when we don’t enjoy reading anymore?” I really think the same thing is true for music teachers—we can’t inspire students to love music if we are not actively trying to improve out musicality.

So there are a few easy ways to incorporate some self care into your routine! I’ve get ideas for school and outside of school.

 

Also read: Elementary Music Classroom Tour

You know what else is great self care? Signing up for access to my free resource library so that you can download things instead of making them! There are different resources available, including a music interest survey and a steady beat chart (in 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4). Once you get access to the exclusive content, you can keep coming back and downloading more! I add new resources every few weeks! Sign up here!

Now I’m curious, what do you do for self care? Let us know in the comments!

Happy teaching!



Easy Self Care tips for Teachers. Teachers are always taking care of everyone else in the world, but when is the last time you took care of yourself? These ideas are easy to implement and do not take up very much time! Becca's Music Room



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Elementary Music

Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching

I am not going to lie, today was awful.

Of course, by the time you read this, it will no longer be “today” anymore.

Four of my six classes were crazy. It was like every management tactic I could think of did not work. I tried everything that I knew how to do, and it made no difference. My first grade in particular. I tried stickers, tickets (our schools PBIS), games, dancing to get our wiggles out, and it was still ridiculous.

Also: Questions to Ask Yourself When the Class is Off the Chain

Now, I consider myself lucky in that even though it’s my first year of teaching, I have very few days that make me want to die. As teachers, there will always be those days. No matter the school, no matter the subject. How often these occur is not quite as important as what you do after them.

Your students need you to destress. You need you to destress. How do you destress after a day that was so awful you do not want to think about it?

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

Take a bath

I so wish I could do this. After getting married, I moved into what is essentially a studio apartment with my husband. So there’s no bathtub. Which is really sad because that was my go-to method of destress.

And when we move (in April, yay!) this will be my go to again!

Seriously though. Get a book (or set up Netflix on a stool), light some candles, and drink some wine or Coke or eat ice cream.

You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.

 

Exercise

Half of you are sitting there saying “Really?! How will that help?” It does. I’m not saying go run a 5K, but do something. If you are not an exerciser, then just go take a walk. It makes a huge difference. I went from hating exercise to looking forward to it in just a few months, and this is a big reason why. it gets all of the frusteration out, and it takes your brain’s focus away from the day and onto what you are doing.

After a long day of teaching, it clears my mind and helps my body feel better.

Don’t trust me? Yay try it!

Yoga is particularly relaxing. You can find some great yoga routines on Pinterest or on YouTube. (Like this one for beginners!)

Also: Positive Management Strategies for When You Don’t Feel Positive

Color

If you didn’t believe me about exercise, you probably really won’t believe me about coloring.

But try it.

I’m not sure what it is but it is very relaxing. It doesn’t take very much concentration or brainpower, but it almost soothes your mind.

You can download some for free, but I have a few. My favorite is the Van Gogh coloring book!

Do something productive

This may sound counterintuitive. You want me to destress and relax by doing chores?

Yes.

I find myself so much less stressed after accomplishing something. Think about it– do you find it hard to destress when there is a massive to do list looming over your head? Can you relax if the house is a mess? I cannot. I would rather get some things done then lay on the couch thinking about how it needs to be done.

And again, it takes your mind off of your day and onto something else.

My favorite thing? Working on my blog. It puts my energy toward something useful. Every time I finish a blog post or get something scheduled, I feel as though I have done something. I didn’t realize this would happen when I started, but it is a huge reason why I continue to blog.

Even if I don’t feel like I accomplished ANYTHING while teaching (aka today), I write blog post and finish it and get some sense of accomplishment.

You could also do something like clean out your closet, get all of the dishes put away, make some manipulatives for your class, etc. Even if it is really small like you finally put clean towels in the bathroom– it will make you feel better.Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

Create something

This is on the same idea as the last one. Creating something will allow you to feel productive. Who cares if it is something no one will ever see? The important part is the process, not the end result. Draw a picture, write a story, etc.

My favorite? Painting. Painting is my new favorite hobby. I used to love it and I haven’t done it in forever and now I am painting all of the time. It feels so good to have something to make. And even better once it is done and you can be proud of it!

And if you can make something to give away, even better. Do a craft that you can give to someone. Have an Etsy shop? More power to you!

Go to bed early

Laying in bed early and getting a good nights sleep will do wonders for your mood. And it will get you ready to face those crazy children tomorrow!

Also: Free K-2 Music Lesson: Rhythm

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

What did I choose to Destress?

Now, I do not always do the same thing. Today though, I chose:

  • Do something productive (I cleaned up the house a little bit)
  • Create something (I painted a picture that I have wanted to do for a long time)
  • Do Something productive (I wrote this post)
  • Go to bed early

Destress time is over… now what?

Remember that tomorrow is a new day. Give your kids a new start. Give yourself a new start. Make it better!
This doesn’t mean that you forget everything or don’t follow through on necessary punishments from whatever was done. But it does mean that you don’t hold it against them.

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow

One final thought

Don’t forget why you teach in the first place. It’s not for the bad days. It’s for the good days, when a kid finally “gets” it.

Or when a kid you didn’t think ever hears a word that you say does something that makes you realize that they were listening all along. Or when a kid comes up to you and says, “I love music!” Or when a kid gets into a specialty school and you know that it is literally going to change their life.

Keep a journal. Every time a kid gets something or says something that touches you, write it down.

When you have awful days like today, go back and look at the journal. It will help remind you of why you do this.

Yesterday, I got to add to my journal.

A first grader came up to me at the bus ramp and said “Mrs. Davis! Did you know there’s only three days and then the next day I get to go to music?! I’m so excited!” This was Monday. I don’t see his class until Friday and he was already excited to sing and dance and learn.

That is why I teach.

Ways to Destress After a Crazy day of Teaching. Becca's Music Room. Crazy day at school? Full moon? dress down day? Not sure why but the kids have all lost their minds? Read this article for tips on how to forget all of that so that you can have a better teaching day tomorrow!


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