One of the first safety precautions we are told upon taking our seats on an airplane is that in the case of an emergency, adults traveling with children should first put on their masks then do the same for the little ones.
In other words, before we can be of help to others it is important to pay attention to our needs. Having been an educator for four decades, I learned that to be of help to my students and fellow educators and to meet the complex demands of an ever-changing profession I needed to practice self-care and intentionally participate in professional growth.
My routine includes ongoing assessment of my progress toward meeting personal and professional goals and being open to making any necessary adjustments.
I work very hard to maintain a wellness routine focused on my physical, social, emotional and financial health.
Taking care of my needs first also involves being in constant communication with people who have my best interest at heart – family, friends and mentors.
Putting myself first also includes saying ‘no’. You cannot be all things to all people.
In addition to teaching and writing that give me joy, I also participate in community events and ensure my ‘alone’ time.
I also learned that the more organized I am leaves me with more time to participate in activities that bring me joy.
My book ‘Teachers are Burdened: Proven Tips to Lighten the Load and Win has more suggestions about taking care of yourself while you care for those in your charge.