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Wellbeing for Teachers: 5 Tested Tips for Healthy Holidays

19/07/2021

Just like everyone, teachers need to relax and recuperate. Taking time to recharge is vital for teachers’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Stress has negative effects on every aspect of our health. Chronic stress leads to lowered immune function and susceptibility to illness, elevated blood pressure, digestive impairments, anxiety and depression. 

Additionally, teachers’ long-term stress can lead to burnoutpersistent physical and psychological exhaustion. This saps your motivation for the next academic year in a vicious cycle. 

Teaching is a demanding profession with many potential stressors, not least your duty to look after your pupils’ academic and mental wellbeing amid a global pandemic!

Wellbeing for Teachers: 5 Tested Tips for Healthy Holidays

Many educators use their summer break to develop themselves for the next academic year. This is useful,but it’sequally important to give yourself at least 2 weeks of total me time. Your body needs time to heal from a particularly tough year of educating.

Here are some ideas for teachers to look after their wellbeing and recover over the summer break:

Tap into Gratitude

Practicing a sense of gratitude has wide-ranging positive effects on the mind and body. It has an immediate mood-enhancing effect and can be done anywhere.  

Feeling gratitude is especially important at difficult times. It doesn’t mean we ignore what’s troubling us; it just means we pay attention to the good things too.   

Over the summer, keep a log of ten things you’re grateful for every day. You can write them down, or take photos, collect objects or draw: it’s up to you! The more we practicnoting down the small, joyful details of life, the better we become at spotting them in the first place! 

You can include things like good weather, a soothing cup of tea, or just smiling at someone: the possibilities are endless.

Reconnect with Nature

Mother nature is a great healer. Connecting with nature improves physical health, lift mood, reduce feelings of stress and anger, relax you and build confidence.  

Build time into your summer routine for walks in the park or local green spaces. You could even grow houseplants or vegetablesWhatever outdoor activities you choose, they will improve your wellbeing.

Become More Mindful

Mindfulness is the awareness we gain from focusing on the present moment with kindness, curiosity and without judgement. 

A big part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies through our senses of sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. Regular practice helps us become more present in our day-to-day lives.

This helps us enjoy the world around us and understand ourselves better. We become better at observing our thoughts and feelings, helping us respond better to life’s difficulties.  

Mindfulness reduces stress and is recommended for dealing with anxiety and depression. Many apps teach mindfulness, including CalmInsight and  Headspace.

Connect with others

Social connection is a fundamental human need. It benefits our mental and physical health and longevity. Social connection even strengthens our immune system and help us recover from illness faster 

The end of lockdown has made it easier to connect with others. Do yourself some good this summer by spending time with friends and family. Even video calls and texts can make a difference.

You can reap the benefits of connection even when you are completely alone! A form of meditation called Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) can make us feel connected in just a few minutes. Here is an easy meditation to get you started

Set Some Boundaries

We can’t properly relax when we’re constantly reminded of work. This is why setting some boundaries between our work-life and life-life can be invaluable.

Try setting a boundary about checking work email. Assign a period over the summer (1 or 2 weeks, for example) when you won’t check your work inbox, with mail notifications on your phone or laptop switched off.  

You can also separate your work and life inside your living environment. If possible, try to do any holiday work in a separate area from where you unwind.

You can achieve a similar result by packing your work items away at the end of a working period. Not seeing teaching-related items will help you switch off more completely.

Practice Self-Care

Teachers are experts in providing care and compassion to others. Sadly, we don't all feel able to show it to ourselves. 

Making self-care a priority can make you a happier, healthier person and a better educator.

Self-care is any activity that you do for yourself and your own wellbeing

You could start with sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for recovering from the stress of the school year. CALM has some great guided sleep meditations to help. 

Moving your body in a way you enjoy is another excellent way to take care of your wellbeing. Any movement counts! 

There are many ways to get active that you can access online, from yoga to home workouts.Gyms and leisure centres are also open again and offering classesDon’t forget - you can easily exercise outdoors while practicing social distancing by walking, cycling or running.

Self-care can even involve just having a bath, reading a book, ordering a lovely meal or most any other activity you enjoy.

We hope this advice helps teachers and educators look after themselves this summer.

If you find yourself needing some help with your mental health over the summer holidays, don’t hesitate to seek help from organisations like Mind and Samaritans, and your local NHS services

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