March 2020 Newsletter – Self-Care: What is Self-Care?

Let’s start by saying the one thing everyone needs to hear, self-care IS NOT selfish! Many people have come to view self-care as an excuse to be selfish with the guilt, but really self-care is about taking the time to put your health and well-being first. This is often a foreign concept for people in the education field as they spend most of their day putting others first, which is one of the big reasons why the education field has such a high rate of burnout. When teachers constantly put their health and well-being as the last priority, it is easy to understand how stress builds up, how they could start to enjoy their jobs less and less, and how they could want to quit all together. In the end, teachers need to care as much about their health and happiness as they care about the health and happiness of their students. Here are some of the signs of burnout:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Frequent illness
  • Depression
  • Irritability with coworkers, friends, and family
  • Forgetfulness
  • General lack of interest/feeling of apathy
  • Working hard and feeling drained without signs of higher production

Self-care is any action that you use to improve your health and well-being. That being said, it should also be something you enjoy, so even though going for a run is good for your health, if you hate running, then it shouldn’t necessarily be considered self-care. Self-care should also be practiced daily, even for just a few minutes. It is not something to be put off for the weekend or for vacation. The six elements of self-care, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), are:

  • Physical Self-Care: involves movement of the body, health, nutrition, sleep, rest, and physical touch.
  • Psychological Self-Care: involves learning new things, applying consequential thinking, engaging intrinsic motivation, and practicing mindfulness and creativity.
  • Emotional Self-Care: involves enhancing emotional literacy, navigating emotions, increasing empathy, managing stress effectively, and developing compassion for self and others.
  • Spiritual Self-Care: involves the beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life. This includes pursuing your noble goals and the practices that support you in developing spiritual awareness.
  • Social Self-Care: involves having a supportive group and network of relationships around you whom you trust and turn to when required. Having caring and supportive people around you builds a sense of belonging and connectedness.
  • Professional Self-Care: involves sharing your strengths and gifts, and having clear professional boundaries, whilst living your purpose.

Try this self-care inventory to see what areas you might need to adjust your self-care routine.

For the main article Self-Care, CLICK HERE

For the article What is Self-Care?, CLICK HERE

For the article How Can I Help My Students Practice Self-Care?, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – How Can I Support Self-Care in My Program?, CLICK HERE