“Subject planning, grading, quizzing, creating lesson plans, online assessments, communicating with parents, answering questions at all kinds of odd hours, attending meetings,” the list could go on…
The 2020 pandemic has tumbled the world over and only those who have sustained the fall, survived. Along with our frontline health workers, you, our teachers have also risen up to the challenge to ensure that no student had to suffer. If that meant compromising on your sleep, your health or your peace of mind, you have done it all. Despite having little to no time in preparing for a shift toward an online mode of teaching, our teachers have put in their blood, sweat and tears in learning, executing and delivering impactful classes.
Now, as we gear up for another year of online schooling, we want to suggest a few ways in which you can use this summer break to renew your energies!
Create a self-care routine:
The responsibilities and frustrations of online teaching can sometimes be a bit too much. As a teacher, the expectations from you can be overwhelming leading to pent up emotions and fatigue. Journaling can play an important role in helping you navigate through these feelings. Apart from venting, you can also use journaling strategically by helping yourself navigate through these feelings. One way to do that could be by reflecting on your feelings and needs. You could start by exploring an overwhelming event. Take a minute and think about the entire event, then make a note of the most prominent emotion you felt and why you may have felt it. Then think about what you need in that moment the next time you may experience a similar situation. For example – “I’m feeling overwhelmed because there is a lot of new information about how my curriculum will change. I need a five-minute break. Then, I need to write down my questions and identify a person on my team to problem-solve with.”
You could also use journaling to acknowledge gratitude and joy. You could write about moments in class that made you smile or make a list of things that you feel grateful for. These writing practices act as a great de-stressor and as a cleanse for the mind.
Mindfulness meditation –
Mindfulness is the skill of appreciating the tiniest moments in one’s life. Sometimes as a teacher you may notice that your mind is so focused on thinking about what you need to do and how to do it that you’re not paying attention to the present moment. You have expectations about how things ought to be and you become attached to them, rather than noticing and accepting how things actually are. This may cause distress making you emotionally volatile and more perceptive towards threats. For example, you may identify a students’ disruptive behaviour to be purposefully designed to disrupt your class wherein it might be a sign of a child who faces issues with emotional regulation. Therefore, practicing mindfulness could help you recognise emotional patterns and regulate how you behave. It could also bring to you a sense of calm and joy.
Pamper yourself –
A perfectly lit room, some scented candles in the corners, a few sprinkled rose petals on the bed and your favorite chocolate flavored macaroons along with a locked bedroom door for a few hours. This is all you need to get started for an evening of self-pampering. Coupled with a box of pizza with some Netflix or inviting your masseuse over for a much-needed massage. Pampering yourself within your home does not have to be a task. Indulging in a few hours of complete relaxation can be a great stimulator for the mind and body.
So go ahead and plan the perfect guilt free, stress free evening just for yourself, you’ve earned it!
The future of our generations lies in the hands of you, our teachers. Therefore, it is imperative that you look after your physical and mental health as a priority and responsibility towards not just yourself but towards society. Begin a practice of dedicating time towards self-care from this summer break onwards that can be inculcated within your routines in the upcoming year to ensure that you’re well prepared to take on all the madness that awaits.
Munira Patni is a psychologist, graduated with a Master’s in Psychology (Clinical Specialisation) from Maniben Nanawati Women’s College. She is currently working as the school Counsellor for Podar International School through Drishti. She has been an active participant in raising mental health awareness through her blogs and videos on social media. She aspires to play an integral role in improving the approach towards mental health for citizens in India.