If you’re a teacher, taking the time to research and implement self-care strategies is probably the last thing you want to do with your time away from school. The descriptions below and included checklist provide you with a different self-care strategy for each month of the year. The strategies are designed to flow easily into your current lifestyle and can be continued (or not) as the year progresses.
January: Read something new. Find a book, magazine, blog, or anything else that genuinely interests you, and give yourself time to read it. You could also use the month to finish a book you started, explore your local library, or treat yourself to a brand new book from Amazon or the bookstore. Reading is a mental escape, and if the right book is read, it can have a therapeutic affect. The term bibliotherapy refers to the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. Carving out time to start the year off with some bibliotherapy is a self-care strategy worth continuing.
March: Try meditation or deep breathing exercises. Simply sitting in a quiet place and letting your mind relax is an act of self-care. Meditation is different for everyone. Explore what works for you. The internet is filled with meditation videos and tutorials. There are also various guided meditation applications for smart phones that can be downloaded at little or no cost. In order to get the best results, aim for short sessions that increase over time throughout the month or year.
April: Organize something. Take the time to create order out of something messy. Even if it’s just doing something small, creating order will make you feel better. An organized and peaceful outer life will help to foster an organized and peaceful inner life. The act of organizing gives the mind something to focus on, and it provides an outlet for negative built-up energy.
June: Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers or a new plant. You’re worth the investment! You can have fun with this one, and get creative with flower arranging. Click here to find inspiration or take a crash course in flower arranging. You can also be more frugal and pick up a small potted succulent that will live on your window sill for years!
July: Find a park and enjoy nature. Take from the wisdom of Henry David Thoreau and spend quality time outdoors to recharge and rejuvenate. Simply sitting in the shade of a tree or on a park bench and listening to the sounds of nature will having a calming effect. If you’re feeling adventurous, pack yourself a healthy lunch to enjoy al fresco.
August: Take some time to yourself to relax and listen to music. If sitting and listening to music isn’t your thing, find an interesting podcast. Sometime, it’s hard to sit still and focus on being present in each moment. If you find yourself rushing from one thing to the next, sitting and listening to music or a podcast might be really difficult, which means you probably need to take more time for yourself. You deserve it!
Click HERE to learn more about Teacher Care Crate and see items from past boxes.
September: Stretch or try yoga. Spending just ten minutes each morning or evening stretching will help to reduce inflammation and stress. The internet is filled with free videos to guide you through all levels of yoga or stretching. Yoga with Adriene even produced a free Yoga for Teachers video available on YouTube! Like walking, stretching and yoga don’t require any fancy equipment or clothing. It’s hard to make excuses when you can stretch in your pajamas in the comfort of your own home.
October: Trying a new recipe can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Think about something you’ve always wanted to make, and make it! It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can also look into taking a cooking or a baking class. There are even virtual cooking classes you can take in the comfort of your own home!
November: Watch a movie. Schedule some time this month to relax and watch a movie. Get cozy, grab some snacks, and enjoy a couple of hours of cinematic entertainment.
December: End the year by watching the sunset. Give yourself permission to immerse yourself in the moment. Take it all in. Notice the lingering colors in the sky, breathe the fresh air, and give yourself some time to think.
By the end of the year, you will have a complete arsenal of self-care strategies. Some you may even want to carry into the next year!