As I sat looking at the chart of different joints in the human body, one phrase kept running through my mind like a Times Square ticker tape: “But we still won!” These were the words a fourth-grader exclaimed in the middle of my story to his classmates about why my left foot was swollen.
We had won the charity volleyball game with only ten teachers on our team; the other school had at least twenty teachers. I had a choice. I could have stopped practicing and opted not to play. I could have visited the orthopedist when I first noticed the discomfort and swelling. Instead, it was more important to play the game. My health was not a priority….I am disappointed that I made that decision.
Putting My Self-Care Plan into Action
I am sharing my story because too many teachers make the same choice that I did last week; the choice to put their health second and the needs of others first. As teachers, we spend a huge amount of time caring for and worrying about our students. So much time is spent caring for others, including our family members, that we forget to care for the most important people: ourselves.
This message is even more important now that I am facing arthroscopic surgery. The surgery will repair the torn meniscus. Now I need to make my mental and physical health a priority. So, off to the Internet I went to research suggestions for creating a self-care routine. I am determined to make a pledge to take care of my needs first before I tackle the needs of others. Here are two sites that I found to be most helpful:
Pinterest: One Pinterest board that I found early in my search was Self Care for Teachers. The board is by Tami Hackbarth from TeacherGoesBacktoSchool.org. One picture that she had reminded me of a favorite summer activity: Paint Nite! The joy of painting with a glass of wine in my hand was very relaxing. I even suggested the activity to other teachers. I pledge to add at least two Paint Nite activities during the school year, starting with one right after my surgery.
Hubpages: This article Ten Ways for Teachers to Practice Self-Care, was written in 2013, but it still applies today. The author provided ways to create moments of self-care. The author also shared the challenges she faced with following a self-care routine. The one tip I really focused on was #4. As the author said, it is easy to be worn down by the students and our colleagues. It is also easy to take on the negative attitudes that may exist in your school. In my case, I eat in my classroom. I take the time to eat without doing any work or engaging in negative conversations. Just taking that 15 to 20 minutes to just focus on eating my lunch has made a huge difference in how I feel during the afternoon. I pledge to avoid the negativity that surrounds events that I cannot change. For those events within my control, I will choose to follow #8 and become solution-oriented.
These were two of the many articles and websites that I found most helpful. Both sites have given me the tools that I need to start my self-care routine. So, here are a few of my pledges:
- I pledge to read the magazines (thanks, United Airlines Miles) on my coffee table each day instead of using them as a blanket for my cats;
- I pledge to enjoy more tea after work instead of relying on the glass of wine at dinner for relaxation;
- I pledge to make exercise an important part of my day (after the surgery of course) instead of viewing it as an unwelcome chore.
Are you ready to make the pledge to create a self-care routine?
Looking for more quotes about self-care? Visit Goodreads for more inspiring quotes about self-care and mindfulness.
Quotes in pictures are from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/self-care.