Sunday, July 27, 2014

Good Educators Take Care of Themselves

"Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list."
--Michelle Obama

Many caretakers are selfless people. They spend lots of time caring for others, and less time caring for themselves.

As a young child, this was often true for my own mom and the mothers all around me. They waited on their husbands, children, neighbors, and family members--they spent almost all the hours of the day caring for others. Similarly it was often expected that the girls in the family would do the same.

Sometime during my young adult years, a shift began to happen. A shift that was already in place in some families and communities. The shift was towards taking better care of oneself and the broadening of women's roles--a mindset that recognized that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others.

If you didn't grow up with that mindset or coaching, it's a difficult change to embrace. When you're so used to gaining your identify through your care of others, it's difficult to switch to making more time for yourself and your own care. Yet, it's imperative.

You probably notice this in the organizations where you work. Those who take good care of themselves are better able to serve others--they bring a healthy, optimistic, can-do attitude to schools and children. It's a win-win attitude when the balance is right.

Therefore as school starts near, how do you take care of yourself now? What routines do you have in place to develop your physical, emotional, social, and intellectual health? How do you make sure you get enough rest, support, and care so that you can do your best by your family and students? When do you make time for play?

Taking care of yourself means that you can take care of others. Unlike many mindsets of old, taking care of yourself is not a selfish act, but actually a selfless event with respect to teaching children well since teachers who are well cared for have more to give.