10 Mental Health Tips for Teachers

Hello again-- The SuperHERO Teacher here and It’s time to talk about mental health. And, yes, TEACHERS, I’m talking to YOU.

Let’s get real. We all know that teaching, as rewarding and noble as it may be, can be stressful. We sacrifice our time, our money, our hearts and even our health, in order to provide the best education that we can to those who call us teacher.  We put the needs of others before our own.

Raise your hand if you’ve stayed late to grade papers or answer emails.
If you’ve worked through your lunch period to catch up on an unfinished project.
If you’ve had to cancel plans with family or friends to prep for upcoming lessons.
If you’ve skipped the gym out of sheer exhaustion.
If you’ve worked through an illness.
If you’ve compared yourself to another teacher.
If you’ve experienced anxiety, fear of failure or lack of self-confidence.
If you’ve felt like you needed to give yourself that same pep talk that you gave your student?

The list goes on and on.

To an outsider, these sacrifices may not seem huge. But, in reality, these sacrifices can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. And now is the time to address this all too common problem. To face it head on. It is time for YOU to start taking care of YOU.

This may seem like a daunting task, but I am here to tell you that it can be done. To start, here are 10 simple tips and tricks for staying mentally and emotionally healthy.

1.      Get those Zzz’s.
A good night’s rest is going to be the first step! When your body is well-rested, it can face the day-to-day challenges with more clarity and focus. I know that we hated them as kids, but one of the easiest ways to get our best rest is to SET A BEDTIME. And stick to it.
2.      Make time for yourself.
It may seem like the hardest thing to do, but it is so important to make time for ourselves. We spend each day making time for others, meeting their needs, stretching ourselves thin. But, it is just as vital to our mental health to turn that focus onto ourselves. Try to spend a few minutes each day doing something that is JUST FOR YOU. It may be reading a book, meditating, taking a bath, drawing or doing a crossword, watching that guilty pleasure TV show that you love! It will help relax you and help your mind ease from being “on” all day.
3.      Say no.
We are all guilty of saying YES to fifteen too many things. We over-stack our plates and, inevitably, they may end up toppling. It is okay to say no. I repeat: IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO. Choose to say yes to things that fulfill you, that are important, that have a positive impact on you and that YOU HAVE TIME FOR. (This doesn’t mean that you have to say yes if you don’t already have plans).
4.      Surround yourself with good people.
Not much to explain here. Just surround yourself with good people. Those people in your life that lift you up, that make you laugh, that inspire you. Your people.
5.      Get moving.
This is the one that is so easy to give up. We are exhausted after a day’s work and have a million and one things on our to do list. So, sometimes the gym gets crossed off that list. But, taking care of yourself means taking care of your body, too. It doesn’t have to be training for a marathon or taking a high-level kickboxing class. Just get moving one time each day: walk, stretch, do a youtube yoga session, take a hike at your local nature trail, ride a bike, play a family game of tag in the backyard, do squats on commercial breaks, etc. You will grow stronger and healthier one day at a time.
6.      Try something new.
Isn’t this what we encourage our students to do? Be bold. Try something new! New experiences are extremely beneficial to our mental health as they build trust and confidence in ourselves. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a cooking class or to try handlettering. Take the leap. Try the thing.
7.      Set Realistic Goals.
What do you want? Think about it. Set a goal (or two or four) that is something that you want to accomplish in a given period of time. Make sure that it is a goal that is achievable so that you can build on your strengths and grow your self-confidence throughout the process!  Then, after you reach that goal, you will set another, more difficult one. 
8.      Reflect.
Reflection is a major part of growth, as we all know. Finding a way to reflect on your daily experiences can greatly improve your chances for success. Maybe you like to reflect through journaling, or through meditation, or maybe even with FaceTime chats with your best friend or mom J.  The key is to do it and often.
9.      Practice Self-Love
I cannot stress this tip enough. When we love someone, we focus on the things that make that person so amazing. So, in order to love ourselves, We MUST STOP zeroing in on the things that we don’t like about ourselves, the things we want to change. We MUST start focusing on our strengths. **TRUE STORY: Anytime my friends or I have a negative comment about ourselves, we remind each other to practice self-love by *sometimes aggressively* saying:  “Apologize to yourself and say 3 nice things.”** As silly as this sounds, it really makes you stop and think about things that you appreciate about yourself, maybe things that you have accomplished or worked on, things that you feel like you are good at, things that help you love yourself.
10. Smile.
Force yourself to smile in the mirror. It's easier said than done, I know. But give it a shot! You might feel silly because you don't feel like smiling, but that may lead to laughter and genuine happiness... Oh my goodness, please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?! LOL. 
If you are looking for something to help you practice these 10 tips and tricks, I have the tool just for you! This Lifestyle Planner& Bullet Journal is going to help you focus and prioritize your mental, emotional, physical and nutritional health so that you can take on 2019 like the TEACHER BOSS you really are!

Just as we plan for our students’ successes, we must plan for ours, too!! This journal is going to help you set goals and track them. It will help you BE INTENTIONAL and STAY FOCUSED on your being your best YOU.

This is not your typical teacher planner. You won’t be recording your daily tasks or making to-do lists that run on forever. Instead, you’ll be focusing on YOU.
There are 10 sections in the journal:
1.      Discovering YOU
2.      Setting Goals & Resolutions
3.      Personal Growth
4.      Mental Health
5.      Self-Love
6.      Physical Health
7.      Food & Nutrition
8.      Recreation & Relationships
9.      Financial Freedom
Career & Passion

We all deserve to be HAPPY and HEALTHY. My hope is that this journal will be a small help along the way!

You can download a free Mood Scantron (tracking) page from the planner HERE

Brittany Wheaton
The SuperHERO Teacher

Here's some more mental health resources for teachers:
-5 types of teacher burnout by Secondary Sara
-Surviving Teaching as an Introvert by The Daring English Teacher
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