October means sweaters, pumpkin spice, and the movie “Hocus Pocus” on repeat. The leaves are changing (in some parts of the country) and the air is getting crisper. Did you know it is also Mental Health Awareness Month? There are easy and simple ways to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Teachers have a lot on their plate – so we’ve put together 5 quick ways to prioritize yourself.
- Treat yourself – Whether that’s a day with friends or a quick trip to Starbucks, taking a little bit of time to treat yourself can help you re-energize. We also encourage an activity like taking a mindful walk! Walking meditation can heighten your awareness of your senses and your environment, helping you to focus and respond more intentionally at school and at home. No matter the activity or your budget, take the time to relax and enjoy something meaningful.
- Seek support – We aren’t meant to do it alone. Seeking support when you feel overwhelmed, tired, or just generally busy can help lighten your load. This can be helpful at home or at school. Remember, most people want to help – you just have to ask!
- Remember your “why” – Remembering your ‘why’ on hard or long days can help you recenter and refocus. Whatever your ‘why’ is – getting to know students, affecting change, or brightening a child’s day — try to prioritize that feeling.
- Take a break and set boundaries – While we know taking work home can sometimes be unavoidable, try setting boundaries around how much you take home, what time you stop working and start relaxing, or how much you take on. Here are some tips to take a self-compassion break at school. Having compassion and patience for yourself allows you to have more of it for other people.
- Connect with your students! – Research shows that when we feel part of a community and connected to those around us, we feel happier. Sharing milestones, feelings, hobbies, or thoughts – big or small – with your students can build a culture of connection in your classroom. Along is a quick and free way to do that.
These tips are meant to be lighthearted and fun ways to improve your well-being. However, if you need additional help, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
We hope these tips come in handy and can keep you feeling rested and ready to take on the school day. For more activities or ideas, view Along’s resource library.