Blog: Milestones

4 Jun 2019

Focusing on #Selfcare

Focusing on #Selfcare

By: Amber Chandler

A few weeks ago, I posted across social media about teacher #selfcare habits. Maybe #selfcare is more personal than I expected, or maybe people were just too busy to respond, but I found it interesting that by far the most responses I received to this query across platforms came from my friends, not the typical reactions across my more professional social media like Twitter and LinkedIn.

The #selfcare rituals and pictures I got tell a great story and resonated with me. For example, my friend Shannon, a seventh grade social studies teacher and track coach, posted a quote that spoke to the need to turn our brain off and let go of the stress. The bonus? Healthy lifestyle choices lead to less stress in the first place.

Another friend of mine, Abby, posted pictures of her amazingly photogenic family, and it is clear that spending time with her #MilitelloFunSquad is relaxing, fulfilling, and answers the need for relationships. With three kiddos under six, it is amazing the adventures this family takes. As a mom who has led a similar kid-filled life, I'm reaping the benefits because my 14-year-old still wants to hang out with me. I've been laying that groundwork for years, and I know Abby will too.

On the flipside, my friend Jen practiced #selfcare by relaxing in a space she created just for herself. When we continually give our all to others, it can be hard to carve out space and time for ourselves. Jen has created an awesome corner of the world, replete with an amazing book by Rachel Hollis, her dog, and an aesthetically pleasing place to just relax. I have to admit, this is probably where I'm going next in my #selfcare. I've loved beautifying my back deck, and I aspire to Jen's level!

This need for alone time and space was a thread through so many of the comments. Kathy, whose youngest is an eighth grader and oldest is in college, also spoke to the need for rituals to sustain us. She wrote:

Another friend's #selfcare routine is clearly sacred, and she has set up boundaries and put aside the time for her needs. Lori explains:

All of these women are teachers, all friends of mine, and all at different spots in their career, yet we all need the same things. The theme of space and time that permeated the comments reminded me of my early fascination with Virginia Woolf and this quote:

Perhaps, as teachers, we can adopt this ideal when it comes to #selfcare: we need time, space, and disposable income to meet some of our deepest needs. No wonder I find this so difficult to achieve! #Selfcare requires a level of intentionality and an understanding that when the turbulence hits, we take the advice of the flight attendant and adjust our own masks first, taking care of our own breathing so that we can help others. Thanks for sharing all of these ideas!

Follow me @MsAmberChandler and use #AMLE to join our cross-platform conversation. Also, subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on the topics we're discussing. The question this month is: What do you need to remember for next year? Thanks for your contributions!


Published June 2019.

 

6 comments on article "Focusing on #Selfcare"

Thank you for the reminder. Taking care of ourselves is not selfish... it renews, recharges, and gives all of us a mindful moment that when we take care of ourselves we do a better job of taking care of others at home, in the workplace, and in our world.

You are absolutely right about the need to be intentional. Put it on your calendar!! ‘Me time’ at the gym, on a walk, in the tub, reading a book, drinking tea with my friend, painting, music... Do something you love to do!! And reflect on how wonderful it is!!

—Nancy
6/6/2019 12:17 PM

Thank you for this message! I think people don't set a side enough time in their lives to take care of themselves. I am a people pleaser and I find myself wanting to take care of others more than I take care of myself. Over my last semester at college, I have been with a teacher who stressed how important it is to take care of yourself and do something that makes you happy. With this message constantly being preached to me, I have made sure I set aside one day of my week to hang out with friends and family and do something that I enjoy and set my worries aside.

—Kayla
11/20/2019 11:20 PM

As a student teacher, many people say self care is important to prevent "burnout". I am learning that self care, even in college, is important for mine and my peers mental health. I cannot imagine how stressful my first year of teaching will be so thank you for sharing different ways to relax and unwind because everyone needs few moments for themselves.

—Hannah
12/2/2019 1:14 PM

Thank you for this post! Working as a student teacher myself, it is incredibly easy to forget to take time for self-care and try to power through you work on empty. This post was a wonderful reminder and will be again once I begin my first year of teaching.

—Hollie
12/6/2019 3:32 PM

This was an eyeopening post so thank you very much for posting about self care! As an furutre educator in college, I am seeing the importance of self care and decompressing. My colleagues and I make sure we each take a moment to take a step back and breathe when we get stressed out. We each have different ways of decompressing, some of us shut our laptops and walk away for 10-15 minutes, some of us will stop and enjoy time with family as a way to decompress. As a college student in the education field we always hear about "burn out rates" but we never really hear about ways to avoid becoming burnt out. Thank you again for this eye opening post!

—Kelsey
12/8/2019 11:38 AM

"#Selfcare requires a level of intentionality and an understanding that when the turbulence hits, we take the advice of the flight attendant and adjust our own masks first, taking care of our own breathing so that we can help others." -- I needed to read this! Being a pre-service teacher and a full-time student, I often make my needs secondary to my academics. I will have to work on finding my own #SelfCare ritual for the future!

—Nicole
12/8/2019 3:25 PM

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Amber Chandler

Amber Chandler is an ELA teacher at Frontier Middle School in Hamburg, New York, a recipient of the 2018 AMLE Educator of the Year award, and author of the AMLE/Routledge book The Flexible SEL Classroom. In this blog, Amber examines milestones that make teaching in the middle a truly unique experience, and shares ideas from middle level educators that ensure we reach every student, no matter what it takes. < blog home