You may have noticed the trend of mindfulness and self-care finding its way into classrooms, or at least into your social media feed! This trending article was circling for a while, and back in the summer, we gave our own tips on adding mindfulness activities into the classroom, which you can read again, here.  What about your own self-care? As an international school teacher, looking after yourself first is vital to being able to provide for your students. As the saying goes- “You can’t pour from an empty cup!”

Often times we undermine our own needs, tricking ourselves to believe that we shouldn’t need that extra bit of time to ourselves.  As International School teachers this may be even more prominent. Maybe we swapped out our grey commutes and arduous afterschool marking for experiential classrooms and Island life and we tell ourselves thoughts like ” I live on a tropical island–I shouldn’t feel stressed!”

Moving beyond the vague and elusive world of self-care, we have compiled some of our favourite and simple ways to unwind and recharge. It is crucial to unwind and get out of ‘school mode’ but often hard to find out how to do that.

form-uJd5YBMMR-k-unsplashGentle Exercise.

One way can be trying some yoga or meditation classes. There are plenty of free classes available online, or it is more than likely that your neighbourhood has some classes on offer. Alternatively, a simple walk out in nature will also contribute to your positive wellbeing. Just get moving.

Giving Back. 

At first glance, this might feel counter-intuitive. I work in an altruistic profession, why would I now want to do work for someone else, for free, in my spare time? How does that constitute self-care? It is widely suggested that giving to others makes us feel better. Switching off from work can happen just by changing the environment, so how about giving yourself a volunteer day or looking into some WorkAway options?  Planting some trees out in nature or walking dogs at your nearby kennel could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

carolyn-v-dPkn4562j3E-unsplashEstablishing a Routine.

Establish a routine that has nothing at all to do with school! It is easy to convince ourselves that we don’t have the time but this can be a simple as 20minutes in the morning. Sit, journal, move, drink some warm lemon water or practice gratitude-whatever you want to do for you, carve out the time and make it consistent. Think of it as your own sanctuary and notice how much even a few minutes of time to yourself transform how you relate to others.  Soon it will turn into a non-negotiable part of your day!

Switch off your phone & computer. 

Resist the temptation to check your phone or browse social media all the time. You’ll be more in touch with the world around you if you’re not checking Twitter and Instagram at every idle moment and you will notice how much free time this actually makes space for. There are options now to have timers on Instagram and Facebook where you can get alerts on how much time you are spending on the application. This is useful to bring awareness to your browsing habits. Try slowly reducing them, and notice the difference in not just your time but your attitude!
reza-shayestehpour--5R5-FJqX7s-unsplashTake a trip.
Get out of your familiar and immediate surroundings. Switching up our environments can really help us relax. Planning a trip doesn’t need to take a lot of time or be stressful.  You can even opt for a package where it is all organized for you, or take it even further and take a retreat. This can be a weekend to a week-long trip where the focus is on relaxation, often with some gentle movement classes and healthy food. There are even options where you’re not allowed to speak for a week giving you the time to really fill up your own cup! But note that these options are not as relaxing as you might first think. However, returning to reality you will certainly have a fresh perspective.

How do you switch off from school? Do you have a favourite hobby or routine that really recharges you?  We would love to hear from you! Reach out to us at editor@teacherhorizons.com

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