Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance in the New Year
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult in general, let alone in a profession that requires you to take a lot of your work home with you. As a teacher, you are trying to engage and inspire your students during school hours and stay on top of grading and creating lesson plans outside of school hours. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into being a successful and dedicated teacher, but you don’t need to give up your personal life to reach that point. With the start of the new year, it is a perfect time to revamp your daily routine to better take care of yourself, which will ultimately benefit your students as well.
Be Conscious of your Health
First and foremost, you need to be aware of your health. Your self-care practices can have an effect on your mood, energy level, focus and patience, all of which contribute heavily to your success as a teacher. Therefore, you should be mindful of your diet, take part in a regular exercise routine, take vitamins to make up for any deficiencies and get plenty of sleep outside of work. During the workweek, you can also take short walks or take the stairs to avoid adopting a sedentary lifestyle and consider buying blue light glasses for work, which block the blue light that is transmitted from the digital devices you use to teach and plan lessons from damaging your retina.
Balance your Time
Being a teacher requires you to be involved with and dedicated to students. This means staying after school hours if a student needs extra help, working late grading papers, working weekends to create lesson plans, staying in constant contact with students, parents and faculty if anyone has questions, chaperoning field trips and attending conferences to better yourself and stay up to date on best practices. These outside responsibilities are a lot to take on and keep track of, so you need to manage your work commitments and personal commitments in a calendar or organizer. It may seem like a simple suggestion but in order to make sure there is enough of you to go around, while also practicing self-care, it’s necessary.
Take Breaks from Electronics
As I mentioned before, being a teacher requires you to stay in constant contact with students, parents and faculty just in case anyone has any questions, concerns or updates. This is a responsibility teachers take on willingly as they are devoted to their students’ success. However, it’s important that you set aside specific times to respond to those students, parents and co-workers. Being available at all times may seem ideal as you want to be a good teacher, however, you need downtime as well. Instead, set aside an hour or so at the end of each day to respond to any emails or inquiries they may have.
Don’t Take too Much on
Volunteering and taking on extra tasks, like the aforementioned field trip chaperoning and attending conferences, is very important, but there is a limit. You need to make sure you are involved and there for your students, but it shouldn’t become your whole life. Learn to say no to some commitments; it may be difficult at times, but if you’re putting in a good amount of time, then you shouldn’t feel bad about turning a few events down here and there.
Let the Little Things Go
From an upsetting encounter with a parent to a student struggling to understand a lesson, there are plenty of ups and downs when it comes to being a teacher. As rewarding as a career in helping students grow and learn can be, it can also be difficult. In times like these, it’s important to remember that you are affecting your students in a positive way as long as you remain positive and determined to help. Through everything, just remember that you’re making an impact and setting an example every day.
At the end of the day, you are influencing every student you encounter. In order to make the effect you have on them a positive one, it’s important that you take care of yourself first. Creating the perfect work-life balance can be difficult, and there will be times where it becomes challenging to maintain it, but the healthier and more balanced your life is, the better teacher you will be.