We’ve all been there.
You just started your teacher journey and there is suddenly this stigma around teacher self-care.
For example, you are told that self-care is “selfish” and good teachers prioritize students, not themselves.
If this sounds like something you’ve heard, you are not alone!
In fact, did you know that according to a study done by the Middle-Class Dad, 41.3% of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years?
It’s no wonder that new teachers are leaving left and right.
That’s why we are going to talk about all of those lies and myths about teacher self-care. Let’s stop this stigma once and for all and let’s talk about what teacher self-care is!
In this article we are going to talk about:
- What is Teacher Self-Care?
- Why is Teacher Self-Care Important?
- The Top 7 Myths About Teacher Self-Care
So if you are a teacher that’s on your self-care journey but doesn’t want to seem selfish, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.
(This post may contain affiliate or external links. Meaning I get a commision if you purchase anything through my links at no cost to you. Read full disclosure here.)
What is Self-Care?
Before we talk about teacher self-care myths we first need to be clear on what self-care is.
Self-Care is the action of preserving or improving one’s health.
In other words, it is prioritizing your health first so that you can better preserve your energy and perform better as a teacher.
It’s the ability to make habits that make sure all the different aspects of your health are taken care of.
However, what many people don’t know is that there are four different kinds of self-care. These include physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual self-care.
Basically, self-care is the healthy habits that help you maintain an optimal state of health.
Okay, but why is self-care important for teachers?
I am so glad you asked! Scroll down to read the next section.
Why is Self-Care Important?
There are many reasons why teacher self-care is so important!
For instance, did you know that 45% of teachers claim to work more than 50 hours a week?
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that 4 in 10 teachers are leaving the profession in the first 5 years.
Hence why self-care is so important!
To have a fulfilling life as a teacher, you need to prioritize your health first.
Otherwise, you will continue to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to quit the profession you so desperately love.
Prioritizing your self-care will also help you:
- Build stronger relationships with your students.
- Allow you to better serve your students and show up for them in a mindful way.
- Feel more fulfilled in the profession.
- Create priorities and boundaries that allow you to work in the profession you love while honoring your self-worth.
- Keep burnout at bay.
- Stay energized throughout the day with clarity.
- Model to other teachers that prioritizing your self-care is okay and should be done.
- Help create a movement where teachers take back control of their lives in a way that helps better serve education.
Okay so if self-care is so important, why are there so many myths and such a stigma around it?
That’s why in this next section we are going to discuss all of the lies and myths about teacher self-care.
By talking about all of the myths about teacher self-care, we can start changing our mindset on what being an educator means.
So let’s get to it!
Top 7 Teacher Self-Care Myths
Here are the top 7 Teacher Self-Care Myths that you might have heard. I bet you won’t believe number 7!
#1 Teacher Self-Care is Selfish
I know we already mentioned this one at the beginning of the article, but it is such a common teacher self-care myth!
In a recent study, many teachers claimed that the hardest thing about incorporating self-care into their lives is that they felt like it was selfish.
However, this is such a huge misconception for several reasons.
First off, incorporating self-care is not selfish because it’s impossible to effectively serve others when you are not taking care of yourself.
You know that quote:
It is so true!
It’s only a matter of time before you get burned out from prioritizing others over yourself.
By incorporating self-care into your daily life you are preventing teacher burnout. By preventing teacher burnout, more teachers will want to stay in the teaching profession.
Another reason that being selfish is a huge teacher self-care myth is that you are a model for your students.
By modeling to your students what good regulation, priorities, boundaries, and self-care looks like, you are providing an example of how your students can become effective citizens in the future!
#2 Self-Care Means You Don’t Care About Your Students
Okay, so no one might have told you this to your face. But let’s be honest, the lunchroom talk about people leaving at their contract time is real.
One of the biggest Teacher Self-Care Myths is that by prioritizing your self-care, you are saying you don’t care about your students.
To clearly illustrate what I’m talking about we are going to look at a scenario.
In this scenario, there is Teacher A and Teacher B.
Teacher A is always coming to work 2 hours early and leaving 2 hours late. She never has time to eat a decent meal, let alone take care of herself.
She feels emotionally drained and exhausted, and life feels like a never-ending circle of wake up, teach, grade, sleep, and repeat. When she is in class she is emotionally tired and mentally drained.
Her students try their best in class but have a hard time building a relationship with their teacher because she is so overwhelmed and stressed out.
Teacher B has a list of things to do and leaves at the end of her contract time even if not everything gets finished.
She takes time every day after work to go for a walk or read a book. When she is in the classroom, she is energized (most days) and tries hard to be Present for her students.
Teacher A and Teacher B care about their students just the same. But prioritizing self-care, Teacher B can be more Present with her students.
#3 Teacher Self-Care is Treating Yourself
Another Teacher self-care myth is that “treating yourself” is self-care.
While yes, treating yourself and listening to your needs is important, that’s not self-care.
Self-care is creating healthy habits that maintain your health.
For example, eating a piece of chocolate when you “feel like it” is not self-care.
But trust me, your girl loves a good piece of chocolate!
However, if you were to go for a walk after school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, that would be considered self-care.
The difference is the intention and consistency.
If you want to read more about self-care vs. self-indulgence make sure to read the article “The Number One Thing Causing You Teacher Burnout.”
- How to Reflect as a New Teacher: 3 Teaching Strategies I Will Continue Doing in the New Year
- How to Deal with Teacher Burnout: A Comprehensive Guide to Transforming Your Teaching Experience
- How to Lesson Plan Quickly with Batching
#4 Teacher Self-Care is Hard to Incorporate
Another common Teacher Self-Care Myth is that self-care is just too hard to incorporate.
Teacher self-care doesn’t have to be this complicated event that takes a lot of brainpower.
It can be as simple as:
- Taking a Walk
- Drinking 2 Bottles of Water
- Reading a Book
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated.
One way to incorporate self-care is to look at your schedule and find 5 minutes for yourself.
Then make a list of things that you could do in just 5 minutes for yourself.
Or save time and just use my list by downloading 40 Self-Care ideas that take 5 minutes or less. It’s that easy!
#5 Teacher Self-Care Takes Too Much Time
Much like Teacher Self-Care Myth #4, self-care doesn’t take a lot of time. In fact, it can take as little as 5 minutes or less!
The trick is to have a plan before you start so you don’t spend 5 minutes wondering what you should be doing.
So here’s a quick step-by-step way to incorporate self-care tomorrow into your busy schedule.
- Write down all of the things you are going to do tomorrow and assign those tasks a time.
- Find a window where you have 5 minutes to spare and assign that as your self-care time.
- Download the “Ultimate Teacher Self-Care Guide With 40 Self-Care Ideas that Take 5 Minutes or Less” and pick something to do.
- Write it down and even put a reminder on your phone.
It’s that easy!
By doing this you are prioritizing your self-care by planning it and taking all of the hard work out of the way.
Now all you have to do is show up tomorrow!
#6 Teacher Self-Care is Too Expensive
While self-care can get expensive depending on what you are doing, a lot of self-care activities are practically free.
That’s why this is such a huge teacher self-care myth!
In fact, when you download the “Ultimate Teacher Self-Care Guide of 40 Self-Care Ideas,” you will notice that almost all of the self-care activities are free.
Because let’s be honest, teachers don’t make a lot. Besides, who doesn’t like free?!
#7 Teacher Self-Care is Hard to Be Consistent With
Teacher Self-Care Myth #7 is that self-care is hard to be consistent with.
While this can be true when you first start, it doesn’t have to be.
The secret to being consistent with self-care is to schedule it.
Yes, I mean write down in your calendar 5 minutes a day for self-care.
While this may seem small, by scheduling out your self-care, you are prioritizing your health and creating a system that makes consistency easier.
For example, let’s say my self-care activity is to read a book every night before bed for 5 minutes.
So I write it into my schedule and even have the book out on my nightstand.
By setting up these systems in place I am making it easier for me to say “yes” and harder for me to say “no.”
Thank you so much for reading to the end! I hope you learned something new about self-care. As a recap, in this article we talked about:
- What Self-Care Is
- Why Self-Care Is Important for Teachers
- 7 Teacher Self-Care Myths
Before you go, don’t forget to download this “Ultimate Teacher Self-Care Guide” for self-care ideas you can do in just 5 minutes or less.
Also, I have a secret for you!
Since you made it to the end I want to secretly invite you to an exclusive membership I will be hosting for teachers.
This Self-Care Teacher Membership is perfect for teachers who:
- Are tired of getting burned out.
- Can’t be consistent with their self-care plan.
- Don’t have the time for their self-care.
- Have a hard time making boundaries and priorities during the school year.
I am so excited for you, and can’t wait to see you inside!
The Present Teacher