Winter is…here, which means cold weather, shorter days, and the looooong stretch of time without many days off in January, February, and March. Surviving and thriving during these winter days calls for you to take care of you. Teacher self care in winter doesn’t need to be complicated.
Here are a few tips on taking care of you during these winter months.
1. Care for Your Voice
Drier air(both inside and outside) means it is extra important you stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day. If you’re hydrating and your throat is still feeling dry, might also consider adding a humidifier to your home too.
Don’t forget to spend time warming up your voice. I find when I come back from break, I require a little extra motivation to keep up on my good habits. Warming up your voice for a few minutes in the car or before your first class starts is essential to helping your voice stay healthy, even if you aren’t planning on singing that day. If you’re not in the habit of warming up before you teach, check out this quick 5 minute warm up to get you started.
2. Take Your Sick Days
If you’re sick, take a sick day(you don’t need to be deathly ill to take one). Your body needs rest in order to recover. If you work and push through being sick, it will likely take you even longer to recover. Not to mention, you may risk getting your students and fellow teachers sick with whatever you have.
If you don’t have sub plans or a sub tub already written, write them TODAY while you’re feeling okay. Writing sub plans when you’re sick is the absolute worst. Sometimes it feels like it’d be easier to Having sub plans or a sub tub already in place will take the stress out of taking a day off. Check out some ready made sub plans from the crew!
Give yourself permission to take a mental health day during the winter. You don’t have to be physically sick to take a day off. Your mental health is just as important to take care of as your physical health.
3. Get Some Sunshine
Since the days are so short this time of year, it can be easy to come to school in the dark and leave as the sun is setting. Sunshine and Vitamin D can help you combat the winter blues.
Take time at lunch or during planning to get outside, even if it’s only for a minute. Open the curtains and blinds in your classroom to let light in. You might even consider a light box.
4. Move Your Body
Moving your body can feel like the last thing you want to do in the winter. Exercise has numerous benefits to help you through winter from uplifting your mood and energy levels to helping you stay physically and mentally healthy.
If you can’t exercise outside of school, make it a part of your lessons. Do the movement brain breaks along with your students. Try adding yoga or stretches as part of your choral warm up. Spend a few minutes each week refreshing your band students on marching technique. Get your students moving and move along with them.