Taking time for yourself is essential for avoiding teacher burnout — try some of these free ways to treat yourself.
Take a nap. There's always lessons to plan, papers to grade, or projects to finalize — but everyone deserves a break. You'll come back rejuvenated and even more productive.
Watch your favorite movie. I always can count on one of my favorite films to make me laugh, or feel inspired.
Help someone. Sometimes the best way to lift our own spirits is to help someone in need.
Improve your diet. Staying healthy is important for all aspects of your life. Think about small changes you can make and set a goal for yourself, such as drinking more water or cutting down on processed sugar.
Paint your nails. A full body massage may be out of the budget, but if you've got some nail polish around, you can give yourself a quick mani or pedi for free. Pick a color that makes you smile, so you can give your nails a glance whenever you're feeling especially stressed.
Call an old friend. Take a look through your phone, and find someone you'd like to catch up with.
Two words: bubble bath. Water is rejuvenating. Few things feel as good as a quick soak after a long day. If you're feeling extra fancy, try adding bubbles or a relaxing bath bomb.
Take a personal day. If you're really feeling overwhelmed and stretched to the limit, think about taking a personal day for your mental health and wellness.
Visit the library. Okay so you're a teacher — you do a lot of reading. But is any of it for you? Pick out a book for yourself, and spend a little time on it each day. Even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes a day, you'll notice a difference. Outside of traditional reading material, most libraries also carry audiobooks and DVDs.
Dance. Put on your favorite album, crank up the volume, and throw a solo dance party in your living room.
Snuggle with a furry friend. Research shows that pets are a natural way to de-stress. If you don't have a pet, visit a local shelter or adoption event. Most shelters welcome visitors who want to give their residents some extra love, even if you're not there to adopt.
Pat yourself on the back. It's no secret that teaching is one of the toughest careers out there. Oftentimes, teachers are underappreciated for all of the work that they do. Remind yourself that you're doing a great job, and take time to recognize your strengths.
Create something for yourself. Draw, paint, sketch, color — take a few minutes to unwind and let your creative mind take over.
Play cards. Think back to your favorite game of cards growing up (I was always a sucker for UNO, Hearts, or Solitaire). Grab a friend or two and host a game night.
Walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes all that's needed to clear your head is a little exercise.
Laugh every day. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Whether it's joking around with students or taking time to read the funnies, make sure you're having at least a little fun every day.
Go to bed early. So I already mentioned napping… but sleep is really important, okay? If a nap doesn't do the job, try hitting the sack early for a few nights.
How do you like to relax and unwind? Let me know your favorite way to avoid teacher burnout in a comment on this article.
Looking for more teacher resources? Take a look at SimpleK12's course catalog for hundreds of professional development videos designed specifically for educators of all kinds.
Here's one video you'll find especially useful:
Reducing Stress and Managing Life Outside of the Classroom. Do you become stressed out when you think about all of the things that you have to do for your class? Do you find that your job is getting the best of you? Join Mark Putney as he shares how you can successfully manage life outside of the classroom. Since organization is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, he will explain how you can enjoy both your job and your home life. In addition, Mark will provide tips and tricks on who he goes to in order to stay sane (both those he talks to and the books he reads!). Come discover how to stay calm, be professional, and take control of your life!
About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.