Sunday, January 2, 2022

REAL "Self" Care

If I have one more person tell me to take some time to "rest" and practice "self-care" by getting a massage and my nails done with a Starbucks coffee in the other hand, I may seriously lose it. (Although, I'll still take that Starbucks drink...). I am so tired of people thinking that all I need to do is ADD SOMETHING ELSE TO MY PLATE IN ORDER TO FEEL BETTER. 

Newsflash. My plate has been overflowing for the better part of 3 years!!!! 

Something needs to be done. The rate I'm going (and many other teachers) isn't sustainable. I need change, and I have some ideas. Yesterday I posted about my 2022 word of the year being "ok" and working on learning how to be "ok with ok". Now I'm going to tell you why I really chose that word. Yes, what I said in the post is true...but it's also necessary to help me on the path to REAL self-care.

You see...REAL self-care to me isn't just a mani-pedi and a girls night out. REAL self-care is making small changes to my daily routine that can help relieve some of the stress that has been balling itself up at the top of my shoulders for the better part of 3 years. 

In order to do this. I need some reflection. Some real, honest reflection on what is the most stressful things right now and how can I work on those areas to help relieve it. I thought I'd highlight two areas of growth in the classroom and two areas of growth outside of school where I'm going to focus my energy. Taking stress off my plate at growing at the same time. Win-Win


1. Being OK with OK - - I am very good at what I do. This is not me "bragging," this is my truth. I am very good at what I do (one of my resolutions a couple years ago was to own it and stop denying it because I was afraid of people judging me for being too cocky). I work incredibly hard, I am creative, I am a whiz with document formatting and creating engaging lessons. I can whip out a new activity in lightning speed (just ask my team...) My classroom just works. It works because I WORK. I collaborate with some of the BEST teachers on Twitter, I learn new strategies, I read, I talk with our curriculum specialists, I brainstorm with my all has made a HUGE difference in the quality of my teaching. The downside to this is that I am constantly creating new activities, lessons, and projects. I love it, I truly do. A lesson that went well would go even better if I did "this". I need to stop. I need to have a semester, or year, or couple of years, where I just deliver good lessons without adding to it. (Being "ok with ok") Everything that I did last semester was good work. Students had essential questions, quality activities, engaging projects, rigorous topics and participated in discussions. I can do all of that again, without making big changes that end up taking time away from other areas in my life. I will be the first to admit, this will be hard for me to do. I LOVE creating new lessons. I LOVE brainstorming new activities, and I LOVE the joy of seeing it all come together. But I need to hold off It's time to take a little step back from that so I can relieve some of my stress. PLUS...I need to model to new teachers a healthier way of teaching.

2. Keeping up with Absent Student Work - - This (and attendance) my be my weakest area as a teacher. I get so bogged down with who missed which day, what work they need to do to make it up, when that work needs to be in and how to get it graded without losing track of who did it, what they did, and when they turned it in. Sheesh! I'm stressing just typing all of this. I have a plan of attack. In the time I'm going to save by not redoing perfectly good lessons, I'm going to work on organizing my absent daily lesson plans. Here's a picture of what my "unit plans" look like... 

Here's a picture of what I'm going to start adding to it. An email template that has the daily to-do list, with links copied, and instructions videoed. This way I can copy the text and send the email to my absent students each day.  This really isn't that much work...I already have the big stuff done. It's a matter of copy/paste and changing the page to landscape. 


1. Working out twice a week with a personal trainer. - -  I actually started this in mid-November and I LOVE it. I knew that exercise was listed as the #1 stress reliever, but trying to figure out how to add it to my plate, decide what to do, and then stick with it for longer than a week was just not happening. So I decided to take the money I was spending on getting my nails done twice a month and put that towards working with a personal trainer at my local YMCA. I decided on twice a week. And let me tell you...I LOVE IT SO MUCH! The stress of the day (week) just seems to melt away. But let me tell you why I really love it. I don't have to make ANY DECISIONS. Once I show up my trainer tells me what to do. I don't have have to think about anything other than my form (and how hard I'm breathing). He even counts for me! For 30 minutes, twice a week, I literally get to let go of all the pressure. And since I'm paying for it, I don't find a million and one excuses not to go. I have to be there. Even better...I WANT to be there! 

2. Laundry. - - This is my nemesis. I never can seem to get a handle on it, and when I do have time, I will literally make up another "to-do" list of things to keep me from it. I'm not trying to be unrealistic with my desire to get better at washing, drying, folding, and putting away laundry...remember, small changes that can have a big impact. I hate doing laundry...and I hate devoting my entire Saturday to trying to catch up on 12 loads. My small change? Trying to complete two loads of laundry through the week. That may not seem like much, but it's a start. A small change that can help relieve some of what I have to do on the weekend. PLUS...if I'm successful at my "ok with ok" initiative for school, I'm hoping to get home sooner in the afternoons that would hopefully free up a little time to complete a load. 

I'll say it again. To me REAL self-care is something that will help me improve my weak areas in order to relieve some of the stress and pressure of being a full-time working teacher-mom. I am a server. I love to help others, watch them learn and grow, and see them succeed. I know that in order to help my family and my students I need to help myself. Like all of us, I am a work in progress. I hope to see a new kind of progress in 2022. 

PS...want a link to the Lesson Plan Template for 2022? Click here and make a copy! 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! These are real changes for self care. You have created some awesome lessons through the years, and those are good enough right now. In fact, they are great! Maybe summers can be a time for you to dream and improve the things that are already working pretty darn well. I wish you all the success in this quest to achieve some balance. It's SO important, especially right now.