Wafting from the kitchen, the smell of cinnamon sticks in cider warming on the stove makes your house feel cozy. Holiday lights twinkle around the edges of the room and candles are burning. With ever-shortening days, we try to make our houses as comfortable as possible. These holiday traditions create a sense of community and celebration. Though we are extremely busy with our commitment to teaching, we need to be intentional when it comes to our self-care. We need share special moments with friends and family, as well as take time for ourselves.
Teaching During the Pandemic
This season can take its toll on us, especially as we are teaching in Covid times. Whether distance teaching or teaching face-to-face, we may very well be reaching our limits this time of year. Research shows that depression rates have doubled with the corona virus pandemic. Teachers are some of those who are most affected by the stress of the pandemic. We care deeply about our students; and that fact in itself sets us up for compassion fatigue.
So maybe you have shifted from on-line learning to in-person, maybe even a couple of times. You might be adapting to new schedules, extra workloads and teaching your children at home. Not only are all these pressures seemingly never ending, when we arrive home, we have the needs of our family to attend to.
One of our greatest stressors is the secondary trauma, when we hear or see of one of our students experiencing trauma. Secondary trauma can bring our stress to an unhealthy level, and lead to compassion fatigue. Many of us educator are suffering from compassion fatigue without knowing the extent of damage that it is affecting us. What can we do to counteract compassion fatigue? I like to spend some time strategizing on what I can do to re-energize.
The first step is to sit with your emotions and acknowledge what has led up to you feeling drained. Feel the feelings of your body, and acknowledge that you are not just tired, but could be experiencing compassion fatigue. Accept the fact that you are feeling over-whelmed. I want to remind you that it is understandable. Perhaps there is a student who just stopped coming to class. Or a story that one of your students told you. Often we are unaware of how much these stories affect us and wear us down. I want to remind you that self-care is essential to your well-being in these uncertain times.
Its Time to Unwind
Set aside time to unwind; why not make a special treat for yourself? A trip to a cider mill, or just the grocery store to buy some apple cider. You come home and make some hot spiced cider and make some pumpkin chia pudding. Curl up with a favorite book while sipping hot spiced cider and a healthy chia pudding can do more to reenergize the soul than binge watching your favorite series with a bowl of ice cream.
The decisions that you make for self-care will make the difference in how you address the areas of your concern the next day. Choose healthy treats, rather than unhealthy ones. Turn off the television and Netflix. Turn off all your electronics an hour before bedtime and get to bed early. A healthy snack and an extra hour of sleep increases your energy and sense of well-being that you will feel when you awaken the next day.
It’s understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed. I want to remind you that practicing self-care is essential to your well-being, especially during these challenging, uncertain times. It is time to believe with your whole heart and soul, that you are more powerful and stronger than all of the events that are going on in your life right now.
You Are Worthy
I share this thought with you: “Some people need to be told that they are worthy; that they are loved. Not because no one ever told them before, but because someone told them they were not.” Research shows us that we tend to remember the one negative thing someone said to us, rather than the ten positive things.
You are worthy. You are loved. Make everything you do for yourself show that. Stop, take a breath and enjoy the moment. Take time for yourself. You may want to take an evening off and make some healthy, comfort food for yourself!