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5 Must-Have Health & Wellness Tools for Teacher Self-Care

5 Must-Have Health & Wellness Tools for Teacher Self-Care

“Education...is a painful, continual, and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning...by praise, but above all, by example.” ~ John Ruskin

Teachers do far more than impart knowledge to their students. Everything they do serves as an example to the students in their classrooms and that includes how well they take care of their own needs.

At Alludo, we understand the importance of self-care for teachers. Any teacher may experience compassion fatigue or burnout. That makes it essential for teachers to have an array of tools and techniques at their disposal and to feel empowered to use them regularly to optimize their self-care. Without such tools, teacher retention may become a problem.

We have included many self-care topics and activities in the Alludo Content Catalog. Here are five must-have health & wellness tools that can help teachers avoid burnout.

Table of Contents

  1. Why is Self-Care Important for Teachers?
    1. It Helps Teachers Be Their Best 
    2. It Imparts Long-Term Health Benefits
    3. It Helps Teachers Manage Stress
    4. Lack of Self-Care Can Lead to Burnout and High Teacher Turnover
  2. How Do Teachers Maintain Self-Care?
  3. 5 Tools and Resources for Teacher Self-Care
    1. Meditation/Yoga Playlists on YouTube
    2. Mindfulness Apps
    3. Self-Care Social Media Accounts
    4. Books & Journals
    5. Websites
  4. What is a Teacher Self-Care Checklist?
  5. Alludo’s Take

Why is Self-Care Important for Teachers?

Because self-care for teachers is often overlooked, it’s essential to understand why it matters – and what can happen when it’s not a priority. When teachers engage in self-care, it’s not selfish. In fact, it’s just the opposite because they’re modeling healthy behavior for their students.

It Helps Teachers Be Their Best 

Self-care isn’t just about how a teacher feels about themselves. It has an impact on their students every day. A 2021 study in Cultural Studies of Science Education found that when pre-service teachers were educated about self-care and built a toolbox to help them cope with stress and burnout, they were more likely to be successful in the classroom than teachers who were not provided with self-care tools.

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It Imparts Long-Term Health Benefits

Teachers are caregivers and like any caregiver, they may neglect self-care because they’re focusing on their students. A 2020 study found that caregivers who regularly engaged in self-care were better able to care for their patients – and it’s not much of a leap to extrapolate that data to apply to teachers, who experience comparable levels of stress.

It Helps Teachers Manage Stress

Teaching is one of the most stressful occupations because teachers worry about their students. Even the most committed and passionate teachers may experience stress. Good self-care helps teachers manage stress by providing them with a necessary release when they need it – which in turn, benefits their students.

Lack of Self-Care Can Lead to Burnout and High Teacher Turnover

When we conducted our Teacher Happiness Survey, we learned that teachers who don’t engage in consistent self-care are far more likely to burn out or leave the profession of teaching than those who make self-care a priority.

Teacher Happiness Report

How Do Teachers Maintain Self-Care?

Teachers can maintain their personal wellness and engage in self-care by building self-care activities into their lives. Here are some examples:

  • Plan for 10-20 minutes of decompression/break time per day. Teaching can be overwhelming at times because teachers are often surrounded by students and need to be “on” all the time. For that reason, planning for one or more short breaks during the day can help them decompress. If there’s not a space inside the school to be alone, teachers may consider taking a short walk or even going to the parking lot to sit in their car. Even 10 minutes of quiet solitude can help to recharge them and prepare them for their next class.
  • Practice self-compassion. Teachers may sometimes be hard on themselves if they’re struggling to reach a student or feeling burned out. It’s important for teachers to apply the same level of compassion to themselves that they would to a student or colleague. One method is to reword negative self-talk by the teacher imagining how they would talk about an issue to a student. It’s a lot easier to show self-compassion when putting negative self-talk into this context.
  • Bring a self-care pack to the classroom to de-stress during breaks. Teachers can prioritize self-care by making sure they have some items and tools to help them de-stress during breaks. For example, they might bring a favorite book, some aromatherapy oils, or some inspirational quote cards to help them recenter and let go of stress.
  • Keep a journal to work through difficult teaching days. Sometimes, writing about a difficult event or a difficult day can release some of the stress associated with it. Teachers can keep a journal, whether it’s in a notebook or a Word document, to process their emotions and help them let go of stress when it occurs.
  • Take advantage of social support/connections. Finally, teachers can and should build connections with other teachers as well as with friends and family members in other professions. Fellow teachers can provide perspective and ideas, while outside connections provide an opportunity to spend time thinking about something other than their jobs.

These simple activities can make a big difference in teachers’ health and wellness, helping them to avoid compassion fatigue and burnout.

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5 Tools and Resources for Teacher Self-Care

Teachers can prioritize self-care most easily when they have a collection of resources and tools they can use. Here are five of the best health and wellness tools for teacher self-care.

#1: Meditation/Yoga Playlists on YouTube

YouTube is a wonderful resource for self-care because it has millions of free videos related to wellness topics such as meditation and Yoga. Teachers can access these videos at home or at school using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Yoga With Adriene is one channel that features special Yoga videos for teachers. There are hundreds of meditations designed for teachers as well, including some that teachers can do with their students. Teachers can curate videos they find useful and add them to a personal playlist. (Anybody with a Gmail account can sign into YouTube and save videos to watch later.)

#2: Mindfulness Apps

Mindfulness apps can provide guidance for teachers to practice mindfulness and send notifications and reminders to help teachers make self-care a priority. Here are a few mindfulness apps to try:

  • Mindfulness Daily is a free app that allows teachers to work mindfulness into their daily routines with reminders and a built-in journal.
  • Buddhify is a paid app with a large collection of guided meditations useful for a variety of situations. Meditations may be as short as four minutes or as long as 30 minutes and teachers can curate “wheels” of meditation and schedule time to meditate. The only fee is a $30 annual membership fee.
  • Headspace is a subscription app created by an experienced meditation teacher. It includes guided meditations for high-stress situations, to improve sleep, and to manage stress and anxiety. You’ll get the first 10 sessions free and then pay $12.99 per month.

Of course, these are just a few of the available apps and there are many others. 

#3: Self-Care Social Media Accounts

Teacher self-care can take many forms and at its best, social media can be a tool to facilitate self-care. Following self-care accounts on Instagram can be helpful because it’s something teachers can do from anywhere. Here are some examples.

These are just a few examples. Teachers can curate their own preferred accounts, so that every time they open the Instagram app, they’ll see content that’s calming and inspiring.

#4: Books & Journals

There are thousands of books and journals that can help teachers cultivate the habit of self-care. Reading a book about mindfulness can help teachers learn about its benefits and how to practice it. One good option is Thich Nhat Hanh’s book You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.

Journals are available online and in bookstores, with pre-printed and printable versions to choose from. We like Resilience Journal: Daily Reflections & Self-Care for Educators because it was created especially for teachers.

#5: Websites

With millions of websites to choose from, it should come as no surprise that the web can be a wonderful resource for teachers. Here are two websites we like for teacher self-care:

  • ResilientEducator has ready-made toolkits for teachers that include self-care, SEL, and other topics.
  • Self-Care for Teachers has free content on its site but also offers a premium membership starting at $7.95 per month. The premium membership provides teachers with access to downloadable guides related to self-care, including guides about time management and mood trackers.

Teachers can and should curate other resources to add to their bookmarks. 

What is a Teacher Self-Care Checklist?

One thing that may be helpful for teachers is creating and using a teacher self-care checklist. The checklist should be simple and include daily, weekly, and monthly reminders and goals. Here are some of the things that might appear on such a checklist:

  • Physiological health including sleep schedules and eating a healthy diet.
  • Activities including exercise, chores, and hobbies.
  • Connections including texting friends, celebrating special events, or starting a book club.
  • Giving includes donating blood, doing a random act of kindness, or volunteering for a local charity.
  • Learning includes taking a free online class, learning a foreign language with DuoLingo, or teaching yourself a new skill.
  • Taking notice includes meditation, mindfulness practice, doing Yoga, and spending time outside.

Many of these things can easily be worked into a teacher’s daily schedule, while some may need to be reserved for weekends or time off.

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Alludo’s Take

The Alludo Content Catalog includes many activities related to teacher self-care and wellness. Topics include the following:

We make it easy for teachers to practice good self-care by giving teachers a choice and a voice in what they learn and by using elements of gamification to make learning fun and easy.

Help Teachers in Your District Prioritize Self-Care with Alludo

Practicing self-care helps mitigate teacher burnout and stress and bring their best selves into the classroom every day. In other words, it benefits their students too! School districts should help teachers help themselves by providing them with access to self-care tools and education.

Experience personalized learning for all levels of educators with a free trial of Alludo’s professional development platform. You’ll enjoy:

  • Hundreds of core topics
  • Asynchronous microlearning activities
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  • Analytics that show learning impact
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“It would take us years to roll out all the PD that we can on Alludo." - Kathy Jackson, Director of Teaching and Learning for K-12, YCJUSD

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