Care for ourselves to care for others
I realized last week that this Well Wish would be coming to your inbox on the day after a likely very emotional political election in the United States. I thought about writing three different versions based on the outcome (if there even is one yet!) and then uploading the one that matched what really happened, but I decided that the bottom line of all of these messages would have been the same: that we need to care for ourselves so that we can care for others.
And when we do that, we can be the teachers our students need because we are providing what we need for ourselves.
Then I remembered the article I wrote the day after the 2016 election and was curious to see if it could be of any help. After revisiting it, I was surprised by how relevant it still felt even without Covid being a part of our lives four years ago.
Here’s a little excerpt that still seems to hold true…
“After the withdrawal [of the election] subsides, please realize that we have a job to do and our students need us now, more than ever. Our country needs us more than ever. Our world needs us more than ever. I don’t know that anyone is going to be knocking down our doors alerting us of how important the job is that we now have to do, but in these times we need to compassionately remind each other. And by the way we’ve been doing our job, but somehow (if it’s even possible) our jobs just got a lot more important.
Our students need us to create safe classroom environments for them so that they have the ability to learn. Our students need us to model effective communication with our fellow teachers and with them. Our students need to see examples of adults who are successful critical thinkers and problems solvers, those who pursue happiness while achieving balance and win or lose with grace, are internally motivated and have the ability to let go of ego and hubris while modeling self-care and the importance of kindness and empathy.”
So to be what these students need, I invite you to take some time, pause, breathe, and proceed to do what you need to do. Maybe it’s a time to get involved. Maybe it’s a time to go inward. Maybe it’s a time to make a phone call and reconnect. Maybe it’s a time to be angry. Maybe it’s a time to breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe it’s a time to cry. Maybe it’s a time to take a mental health day. Maybe it’s a time to go for a walk. Maybe it’s a time to schedule a little time for you this weekend.
If you haven’t been as swept up in the election, this still may be a great time to pause, breathe, and proceed. Do some of the above things. We have all been riding the roller coaster of the first few months of being in school which is a challenge in the best of times. No one needs to remind any of us how much Covid has impacted every personal and professional decision that we have to make.
It may be the time to just really feel what we’re feeling. And allow ourselves to be okay with where we’re at. Here are some useful self-compassion exercises that may be helpful to work with finding a little love for yourself during difficult times.
If you’re looking for a guided mindfulness app that is both FREE & created for TEACHERS. Check out Jabumind.
Also here’s another resource that may be of interest if you’re just struggling to give yourself these few moments of space or know that you need some actionable tips now but don’t know how to quite get started.
So this world is still spinning around. We are still here. We still have a job to do (either personally or professionally). But we are not alone. You are not the only one feeling this way and the more we can help each other remember that, the better we will be.
If you’re feeling like you would like even more support, please don’t hesitate to schedule a Teacher Wellness call. It DOESN’T have to be via Zoom. We can walk and talk on a real phone conversation.
And if you’d like to know more about the community times we will be creating, please check this out and I’ll be in touch with some more information soon.
But above all, when the world feels uncertain, what can bring more certainty to your life? Start there.
In the midst of all of this, we can be the teachers our students need simply (but not always easily) by providing what we need for ourselves. This is the greatest gift we can give everyone in our little piece of the world.
In case you needed it…Permission granted.
To another week of carrying on and doing our best,