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Digital Learning

Holiday Self Care

Brace yourself, teachers! The holidays are upon us! So much to plan, experience, and enjoy! But since teachers are also the planners of most of the experiences in the classroom and at home, it can also be a stressful time. Just as they tell us in the opening instructions on every plane flight, place the oxygen mask on your own face before you attempt to help others. You will not be able to serve and share if your own metaphorical cup is empty. My message today is about some ways that you might consider in taking care of yourself during these always fast paced couple of months ahead.

Find some time for yourself.
I can tell you that the dishes and laundry will still be there the next time you look. Even if it's an hour later. Or the next morning. With a retired spouse, you might even find that the need to do them no longer exists when you return to them - because they're done! (I know that's something that most of you have only to dream of right now, but it may be in your future!)

With two career families raising children, it may seem super important to stick to a schedule. Fine for most of the year, but during this hectic time, why not just walk away from it all for a half-hour vacation inside your own mind. While I was teaching, I tried to carve this time out when I first got home; now I do it after dinner. Right to the couch for knitting or reading. Thirty minutes, then back to reality. It's so relaxing, and I have clinical proof that it lowers blood pressure. (Proud owner of a home blood pressure cuff here.)

Your thirty minute vacation from planning and chores can also include meditation, yoga, or exercise. Meditation is great. Darken a room, assume your position. I use lotus - criss cross applesauce - but any position that you feel comfortable in is fine. If you have a family around, seeking your attention, let them know that this is meditation time, and they are free to join you in their own practice of meditation, but not free to interrupt. Baby see, baby do - you might just be setting your children on a path to better physical and mental health for a lifetime. Who knows?

There are so many apps out there for setting the atmosphere for meditation, and Sirius radio even has two or three stations with spa music that you can use. And then, of course, there is always good old, much welcomed silence! I have discovered that total, absolute silence has its own sound. I'm sure I'm not the actual discoverer of that fact, but wow! Was I surprised when i finally took some time to pause and just listen to the silence. It has an energy all its own.

If meditation isn't your thing, try taking a walk. Walk outside for thirty minutes or so at the end of your teaching day. Do it right at school before you leave, when you first get home, or just after dinner. Dog owners already do this self-care technique every day. Walking your dog can be very much a self-care activity. I like to take walks in my neighborhood at a pace that I might use if I had a dog. I miss my dogs, but have no plans for a new puppy right now, so walking after dinner (or before in Eastern Standard plunged into darkness time) gives me a chance to see everyone else walking their dogs. Love!

Find some time to spend with friends.
Too busy getting ready for the holidays to spend time with friends? Work each other into those preparations! Have an online shopping party. Pour the wine, get out the credit cards, and boot up the laptops! Check some things off your list, and fill your soul in the way that spending time with friends always does.

Meet at a mall restaurant. Have lunch and shop together. Still getting things done, but making your life better with your besties.

Invite some friends/family over for tea or coffee and a recipe exchange. Everyone brings extra copies of their recipe for everyone else, and samples (if that's not adding extra pressure), and you are all set with some new recipes to try out on your family! And - no affiliate link here, but I just downloaded a free recipe and shopping list app called "Copy Me That". You have got to check it out! Just another little way to make your life easier. A friend told me about it when we were spending some quality time together!

Plan a getaway.
Get out those travel catalogs that seem to be in everyone's mailboxes this time of year. Plan some fantasy getaway vacations. Make a scrapbook or collage board that you can look at for a quick trip away in your mind whenever you need it throughout the year! And better yet, it may lead to the beginning of planning an actual getaway!

Introduce a new calming practice.
Never tried yoga? Tai chi? Journaling? Gratitude lists? Pick one and try adding it to your life.

I've had to add a food journal back into my life recently. (We won't discuss it here, because I hate to journal every bite that I eat, and it makes me the opposite of calm. It does keep me from eating some things though, just because I don't want to write about them. Wait - so maybe that's the point.) Whatever. I have found that adding one sentence ( We can do this!) at the bottom of the journal page about something that made me me feel grateful that day really helps. It impacts my whole day because my mind wanders several times to finding that morsel of gratitude each day.

And yoga? I can't say enough good things about it and what it has done to keep me out of physical therapy after an auto accident and flareups of sciatica. The best part is the calming practice. And the studio. It's dark in there, and no one can talk to you. Aaaahhhh.....

Journaling and gratitude lists. These move in and out of my life. I'm always sorry when I come back to them that I ever left. They always forgive me and welcome me back with full benefits.

Teach your students about self-care.
Try some zen inducing activities from Rainbow City Learning to bring a calming atmosphere to your classroom, starting right now and continuing throughout the year. Zen coloring pages, gratitude journals, group activities, and yoga resources can all be fun and very helpful in calming everyone down and keeping an even flow as you travel through the rest of your school year!

Click on the word links above to try some of these resources.

Here's a free poster to get you started!

Hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday season! And for the best self-care of all, a $100.00 choose your own gift certificate could not be too bad. Enter here to check out our podcast "We Teach So Hard" and to win!

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For more thoughts and talk for November, please visit these great posts. Like what you see, and want to join us? Before posting your link, please email me at


  1. Such helpful and much needed reminders for this busy time of year.

  2. Self-care; SO important! Taking time for yoga and getting a massage are my favorite ways to decompress! (Along with escaping with a good book!)

  3. Ahhhhh, Retta! Today of all days, I needed this gentle reminder. Thank you for your wisdom. I've been neglecting my yoga and meditation practice and it REALLY shows!

  4. Really good advice for anyone to follow, but especially teachers. A gift certificate for a massage makes a great teacher gift. Thanks for the good advice.

  5. Thank for these reminders to release and relax! Sometimes it can be hard to break away from all of the "busy stuff"...I'm going to try to start some new habits and heed your advice.