August 1, 2015
Nashville is amazing, y’all! TeacherPop wants to move our HQ down here for good. If you need us, we’ll be shopping for cowboy boots…JK! We’d never leave you hanging, dear readers. We’ve had an action-packed day of content sessions at the Teach For America Corps Member Summit, and as many of you prep to start a new school year, we’re beyond excited to share what we’ve learned. As noted on TeacherPop yesterday, compassion fatigue is real, and the only way to combat it is with a deliberate self-care plan. In one of today’s illuminating content sessions, Alexine Batts from the Martha O’Bryan Center in Nashville suggested creating a self-care contract to hold yourself accountable for taking care of your own needs and to remember that “self-care is never a selfish act.” Batts also recommended these 10 tips to combat burnout and promote positive health and well being:
1. Do some deep breathing.
Did you know you can trick your brain into thinking everything is fine (no need for those stress hormones, thank you very much!) with slow, deliberate breathing?
2. Reach out to your fellow teachers.
Vent with your coworkers and hold each other accountable for your self-care contract.
3. Take a 15-minute timeout.
Schedule your timeouts as periods during the day when you have no interruptions. Soon you’ll look forward to this mini-recharge.
4. Get moving!
Even if you don’t have time for a formal exercise plan, you can see stress-relieving benefits from minor activity like jumping jacks in your living room.
5. Get back to nature.
Teachers don’t have a lot of time for long hikes or adventure trips, but being with nature can be as simple as taking a walk or stopping by a park after work.
6. Disconnect from technology. (Yes, that means TeacherPop, too!)
Constant digital stimulation can increase your anxiety or sense that “you aren’t doing enough.” Plan some no-tech time.
7. Reflect on the little things.
Think about all of the things for which you are grateful. Even when life is stormy, you can always find one bright moment to reflect on.
8. Nurture your artsy side.
Artistic expression is one of the most therapeutic techniques for relieving stress. You might try drawing, painting, photography, or crafting.
9. Create a comfort kit.
For those days when you’re feeling particularly defeated, a comfort kit reminds you that everything will be okay. It can include anything you love, from your favorite tea to a note from your BFF.
10. Pamper yourself.
Set aside some time during the school year for something special. It could be a nice dinner, a manicure, or a weekend daytrip, experiences that will help you refuel and recharge for the school days ahead. What other self-care techniques do you employ to combat burnout and keep compassion fatigue at bay? Stay tuned to TeacherPop for more from Nashville and the Corps Member Summit!