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Stressed? Set a Self-Care Intention.

I know you’re in the middle of making great things happen, juggling tons of tasks, or are taking a quick break in the midst of virtual/in person/hybrid teacher duties, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Last week we talked about finding five minutes of QUIET TME for a self-care respite.  Check out the full article {HERE} if you missed it.

This week is about another self-care moment to find in our day: SETTING INTENTION.  It may sound silly or woo-woo but if you have ever felt like you were going through the motions, just marking things off a TO DO list or you have things you want to be different but don’t know where to start: simply SETTING INTENTION might be the thing for you.

You may be thinking…

I barely have enough time to brush my teeth, Danielle. OR There’s no point in this because this is just too hard. OR even I’m just going to do all this self-care stuff later when I have time.

Let me just tell you.  You will never just HAVE time.  Our days are packed now, and summers are never any different.  We need to CHOOSE to FIND time. And from what I hear from teachers (and have experienced myself) is that unless we choose to find time for self-care ourselves, NO ONE is going to find that time for us.

So what if I told you that there is a better way than guilt and shame to inspire ourselves? What if I told you that in just five minutes (probably less) you could create a little focus area for your day that could help you shift things that no longer are serving you or your students?  

Rather than beating ourselves up to inspire results, what if you start to work with changing some of those reactive behaviors that frustrate you by setting daily realistic intentions.  Our daily intentions work to set the tone for our day. 

We give ourselves a focus area that we want to keep returning to.  It is much easier to notice when we’re slipping into old patterns and behaviors if we first set an intention to handle those situations differently. 

When we slip (which all of us will inevitably do) we just start over and try again.  Look at intention setting as setting a direction for our day or for one part of our day.  Also, don’t be afraid to be specific with your intentions.  Sometimes that can make remembering them even easier!   

So for the next week, experiment with this little self-care act of intention setting. 

What is Intention Setting and why is it important in our self-care routine?

This week is devoted to helping you create meaningful and useful intentions in your daily routine. Intention writing is part of cultivating wellness because it keeps us focused on one thing.  It helps us to have a goal of something we want to accomplish or perhaps a way to approach situations we may be encountering.  Setting an intention for your day is like throwing out an anchor.  It may help you stay grounded, despite the things you may encounter.

Intention Setting has been shown to:

  • Improve confidence
  • Improve belief in your abilities
  • Help you get a grip on negative thoughts
  • Help you break larger goals into more manageable parts

BUT WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME?

  • Find the five minutes to write your intention by immediately sitting down at your desk and doing that before you do anything else.  Don’t give yourself an excuse to do anything else, just write down your intention.
  • If you don’t trust yourself to stay focused when you enter your classroom, make your notebook accessible in your car and write down your intention before you even walk into the building.
  • If you are one who rushes around in the morning to get ready for the day ahead, try to do some of those things the previous day so that you don’t have to spend time on them in the morning.  That way you can write down your intention without feeling pulled in so many different directions.

HOW WILL I MAINTAIN THIS ROUTINE FOR A WEEK?

  • Write them down each day and put them somewhere visible
  • Make sure they are realistic (avoid intentions like “I will not be angry” or “I will be happy all day because it is difficult to carry out such an absolute)
  • Here is the start of some realistic intentions:
    • Carry less weight in my bag
    • Take a few moments and stretch before grading papers
    • Practice a few moments of mindful breathing at noon
    • Notice when my body tenses with stress during a potentially stressful meeting
    • Greet my students at the door before class
    • Eat lunch with coworkers instead of at my desk
    • Notice how my body feels when my Block 3 class is working in groups. Breathe and check in with myself before redirecting them. 
  • Remember, the process of writing down your intention and working with it is far more important than if you actually fulfill it. Be gentle on yourself and continue writing down the same intention if it’s something you truly want to remember.  Also, don’t feel that each day’s intention needs to be monumental, it’s the process and the practice that are important.

READY TO START YOUR SELF-CARE INTENTION ROUTINE?

Here are some resources to get you started:

1. Here’s a mindfulness practice to get you started with Setting Intentions specifically for teachers.

2. Here’s a one-page Daily Journal to download with the whole Teaching Well Self-Care framework, including a place for you to write down daily intentions.

3. Interested in a full course for your self-care routine?  Here’s one that uses these four components as the framework.

So take it one daily intention at a time as you create your own daily self-care routine. Just refocusing and reframing can make all the difference in your daily wellness routine.

Danielle Nuhfer
danielle@teachingwell.life

Here are a few titles I go by...teacher, student, gardener, runner, nature-lover, writer and meditator. I care deeply about my own journey to wellness and want to inspire others to walk this path. Inspiring others to discover the value of mindfulness, positive psychology and other holistic health practices is my life's work.

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