2020 has been a year unlike any other. Essential workers, including teachers, have continued to work hard despite the pandemic fatigue we’re collectively coping with. As we approach the holiday break, I’d like to share a list of self-care tips to help you refresh and reflect before the new year.
#1 Pick up the phone or send a hand-written letter. By now, most of us are very familiar with using Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other video tools to enable rich connections with friends, staff and family. However, many of us are spending several hours each day on these applications for work and other obligations. Returning to timeless communications, like a traditional phone call or writing a letter, can feel more natural and convenient.
#2 Start journaling. Writing is a therapeutic way to release distracting thoughts that are clouding our minds. Challenging situations create a range of emotions – ignoring them won’t make them disappear, but acknowledging your thoughts and feelings through journaling will help you feel better and cope with what’s happening around you.
#3 Take intentional breaks from the news and social media. As the world continues to adjust to changes for every phase of the pandemic, many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the constant updates and information overload. Carve out time that you can spend without devices. Go for walk without your phone, silence your phone during dinner and consider placing your phone or tablet out of arm’s reach when heading to bed for the evening.
#4 Hit the pause button before making decisions (large or small). The process of making decisions is important, so try to avoid rushing and push yourself to pause. Stopping to reflect gives a broader and clearer perspective, and almost always results in a wiser decision being made.
#5 Schedule uncommitted time into your daily routine to unwind, relax and reflect. You might use this time to bring closure to something you are planning, or to simply sit without interruptions and let your mind and body relax. Listening to your choice of music can also help jumpstart your break time.
#6 Get moving to restore your energy. While it certainly doesn’t need to be strenuous, making movement a priority can help to restore energy and recharge. Consider challenging a friend to join you in increasing your daily steps, or do an early morning yoga session to get in the right state of mind to take on the day.
#7 Pause and take deep breaths. Deep breathing forces you to stop what you are doing, slow down the pace and simply pause during your daily routine. Breathe in deeply as you silently count to four, and then breathe out for the same duration as your inhale. Repeat this process 5-10 times, or strive for approximately three minutes total. Taking time to breathe can turn chaos to calm, and bring focus into your life.
Put first things first.
Remember – to effectively care for students, you must first take care of yourself. By taking time to focus on “you”, you’ll be able to connect and nurture those invaluable relationships with colleagues, students and families.
View the webinar: Meaningful Connections in a Distancing World
From all of us at Mentoring Minds, have a happy and safe holiday – see you in 2021!