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4 Self-Care Tips for School Staff



Today kick starts National Self-Care week, an initiative which focuses on individuals taking responsibility and making choices to improve their own health and wellbeing. This week provides a great opportunity for all those working in schools to assess how we are looking after ourselves. 


Whether you’re a school business manager, teaching assistant or teacher, it is always important to monitor how we feel mentally and physically. If we can’t look after ourselves then who will? We must stop, think and measure our own health. After all you wouldn’t drive a car without a service or MOT! This week, we encourage you to stop what you are doing and take note of how you feel today. Are you feeling tired, worn out, sleepy or ill? These are all feelings that shouldn’t go unnoticed and before you seek professional advice why not try and recognise what you can do for you? 


It is a well-known fact that school life can be busy, we are constantly rushing around from one lesson to the next. When we think the day is over our work doesn’t end and we find ourselves stuck in the staff room continuing to plough through marking, assessments and lesson planning. It may seem like a never-ending list of things to do and quite simply where do we find the time to think of ourselves? Again, it is important to understand that we are not robots or machinery and we must take time to self-care so that we can recuperate from our busy lives. If we don’t stop to self-manage any minor health issues it could be detrimental later down the line. 


The Self-Care forum explains that on average, people experience 4 symptoms every fortnight and the 3 most common symptoms include feeling tired/run down, headaches and joint pain. I’m sure teachers have often felt exhausted if not burnt out at some point in their careers. It may be because they are standing for most of the day, performing for 7-8 hours, checking for good quality learning… the list is relentless! Overall it is acceptable for educators to get tired and feel run down but how many of us have acknowledged this and made a conscious effort to self-manage? 


The Self-Care forum has defined self-care as:


"The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness."


As part of this week’s national awareness strategy we would like you to take part in our self-care journey. We have created some actions specific to those working in schools, take the time to start protecting your health. 


1) Do not try and get everything done in one day 


Cramming all of your marking, lesson planning and teaching into just one day would, aside from being nearly impossible, completely drain you of energy and could lead to burn out. Try to dispel perfectionism – nobody is perfect and as a long as you are working to the best of your ability, that is enough. 


Break your work down into manageable chunks and try to not work past a certain hour every day. Have at least one day a week where you leave school by 4pm!


2) Mindfulness – pay more attention to the present moment and your own thoughts and feelings. 


In the modern world, it can be easy to get caught up in the notion that being busy is equivalent to being happy and successful. In reality, always thinking about the future and never stopping to take a moment for ourselves can be detrimental to our health. Take a look at Mindful for some simple Mindfulness practices. 


3) Fight the tiredness and get a good night’s sleep


We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, from keeping us alert to taking care of our immune system. Try to spend an hour or so before bedtime just winding down. Grab a good book, take a bath and light a few candles to ensure you’re feeling sleepy by the time you climb into bed. 


4) Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D


Vitamin D is essential to good immunity. It helps to regulate levels of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which are needed to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Sunlight is the biggest source of Vitamin D, which can be difficult to find in the winter months! You can get the Vitamin D you need from oily fish, red meat and egg yolks.


Spend valuable time taking care of your own health this Self-Care Week – your body will thank you for it!


Make sure that you are getting a good quality sleep every night with these tips on how teachers can get a better night’s sleep.

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