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You have permission: the time for self-care is now!

There are definite seasons of a teacher’s school year.  This time of year always seems to be to be a little tough.  We’re over the half way point, but not so close to finish line that there’s a feeling of elation quite yet. 

In this season, I also am feeling pretty comfortable about my schedule and about the rhythm of the school days.  However, during this time I may also realize have taken on some habits that I’d like to keep in check or eliminate for the rest of the year.  

If you went through writing your mission possible statement series last month, you may have a clear direction about what you want for the rest of the school year.  Check out the directions here if you want to go through the process.

Regardless of having your mission possible statement, I know there is usually something else even the most well-intentioned self-care enthusiastic teachers may need right now at this time of year.  It’s the thing I want to give you….permission.. 

I want to give you permission to change it up if your schedule isn’t working. 

I want to give you permission to let the papers go ungraded for an extra day so that you can leave when you said you would. 

I want to give you permission to enjoy a weekend without your school work going home so that you can reconnect with the people you love and the things you love to do (besides being a teacher).

Now of course you don’t need my permission, but I know sometimes I need to hear it from someone else because I don’t always listen to me.

Remember, my best thinking had me go through two bouts of burnout that almost caused me to never step back into the classroom again.  So look around, where has your best thinking gotten you? If you don’t need permission awesome, but if you do…there you go!

So in this season of the school year,  you are getting permission right now to make self-care a priority. Because if you don’t become your own advocate for your health and well-being, it’s quite possible you won’t have one.  If putting yourself first once in awhile is difficult to do, just remember one of the many anecdotes that we have heard since we were young: people can’t get water from an empty well or you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

So here’s a self care list that was floating around on various sites that seems like a good place to start if you are having difficulty with knowing how to begin caring for yourself…

12 Steps for Self-Care

  1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
  2. Say “exactly” what you mean.
  3. Don’t be a people pleaser.
  4. Trust your instincts.
  5. Never speak badly about yourself.
  6. Never give up on your dreams.
  7. Don’t be afraid to say “No.”
  8. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes.”
  9. Be kind to yourself.
  10. Let go of what you can’t control.
  11. Stay away from drama and negativity.
  12. Love {yourself} just as much as you love {others}.

So keep this little list by your desk and refer to it when you are presented with choices about how to spend your time after school (#7 and #8 don’t be afraid to say no OR yes) or what new initiatives the district is implementing (#10 let go of what you can’t control).  Self-care isn’t just about getting a massage and pedicure every week (although this could fall into #9 be kind to yourself!). Instead it’s about your work life and home life fitting with your wants and needs. And it’s up to each of us to be clear about what those wants and needs are because everybody else is also working to get there wants and needs met.  So if we are always compromising ourselves to please others, we aren’t caring for ourselves (#3 don’t be a people pleaser).  

So hopefully you have some places to start with your own self-care.  Pass this list onto coworkers or anyone else who needs permission to start putting some energy into their own self-care during this season of the year. 

If you want some actionable places to really add some self-care into your day check out Teaching Well’s 4 Simple Self-Care Solutions in Only 5 Minutes a Day.

Join us over at We are Teaching Well to get involved with supporting other time-crunched teachers empower and nourish themselves so that they can be their best both inside and outside of the classroom.

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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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