From Burnout to Balance: Nurture the Teacher’s Wellbeing with these Expert Health Tips for Teachers to Prioritize Self-Care
Health Tips for Teachers: Maintaining good health is incredibly valuable and should be a top priority for everyone. It’s not uncommon to see people scheduling appointments with their doctors even when they appear to be perfectly fine. This could be due to health challenges they are facing or simply as a preventive measure to stay in good health.
There are various ways to ensure you stay healthy. Many healthcare professionals recommend incorporating regular exercise such as yoga, going to the gym, or participating in sports to keep your body in shape.
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Regardless of your profession, taking care of your health is essential. Healthcare practitioners always emphasize the importance of regular check-ups with your doctor and adopting a healthy eating lifestyle.
As a teacher, the stress of attending classes, dealing with student behaviors, and managing a demanding curriculum can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow some tips to ensure you maintain excellent health at all times.
How Do Teachers Stay Healthy?
Teachers, just like everyone else, need to prioritize their health. Let me tell you, my dear colleagues, the tips for staying healthy are quite similar to what you might have heard before. We all know the drill: eat well, exercise regularly, and don’t forget those routine medical check-ups. But as teachers, we face unique challenges and have specific considerations that deserve attention.
Now, let’s talk about the importance of eating healthy and nutritious meals. Trust me, it goes far beyond just switching out your meals or opting for something nutritious. As educators, we should make a conscious effort to include a variety of foods in our diets. Think vegetables, healthy fats, grains, proteins, and fruits. And hey, here’s a pro tip: pack some nutritious snacks in your bag for those long days at work. It will save you from reaching for those unhealthy choices when hunger strikes.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the significance of water in our bodies. This is something that nutritionists and doctors have stressed time and time again. We humans need to aim for an average daily intake of about 2 liters, which is roughly 8 cups of water. Staying properly hydrated is absolutely crucial as it helps maintain all those vital bodily functions. So, my fellow teachers, always keep a water bottle by your side or make sure you have easy access to one. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.
Let me share my thoughts, my fellow teachers, on the importance of regular physical activity. We all know that teaching can be demanding and stressful at times, but incorporating exercise into our daily routines can work wonders for our overall well-being. Personally, I have made it a priority to engage in regular exercise to keep my body healthy and my mind less burdened. Whether it’s jogging, walking, cycling, or joining a fitness class, find an exercise that suits you and fits into your schedule.
Now, let’s talk about the importance of rest. After a long day filled with numerous responsibilities in school, it is crucial for teachers to prioritize rest. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. I make sure to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep every night, which helps alleviate physical pains and relieves the stress accumulated throughout the day. Adequate sleep is not just a luxury; it is an essential ingredient for our mental and physical well-being. So, my fellow teachers, make it a point to give yourself the gift of maximum rest after a day of hard work or even after a week of intense workload.
What Are The Best Vitamins For Teachers?
Vitamins are essential to the human system as each has its function. From Vitamin A to K, every vitamin functions differently from the rest. Some vitamins help resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others help your body gain energy from food or help your blood clot function properly. There are specific vitamins that teachers should take, and I’d share some of the vitamins my Medical Practitioner recommended for me.
I was on Vitamin C, known for boosting the immune system. Being a teacher leaves you open to the germs found in classrooms, and this vitamin helps improve your immune system, which helps to fight the germs. It also helps in the reduction of stress and improves your mood. Certain fruits and vegetables are sources of Vitamin C, and some of them are Citrus Fruits, berries, kiwis, and green pepper.
Vitamin B-complex or B-vitamins play an essential role in the production of energy. Vitamins B1, B2, BE, B5, B6, B9, and B12 help enhance mental clarity and fight fatigue. This vitamin is beneficial for teachers who face long hours and demanding jobs. Some sources of Vitamin B are nuts, cereals, legumes, and whole grains.
Vitamin D provides support to bone health, immune function, and the general well-being of someone. Teachers are known for always being indoors, limiting the amount of sunlight they are exposed to. You can also increase your Vitamin D levels through Sun exposure. Taking 10 – 15 minutes of sunlight increases the Vitamin D in your body and the intake of foods like fatty fish, dairy products, and egg yolks. Most times during winter months, vitamin D supplement is recommended, and frequently, it is recommended for individuals with limited sunlight exposure.
These vitamins have played an essential role in my health, and I’m sure they’d do the same for you. It is advisable to meet your Medical Practitioner to recommend the best vitamins for you and be consistent with them.
How Often Should Teachers Go For Medical Checkups?
As professionals, teachers need to prioritize their well-being and health. A frequent medical checkup for any individual should be necessary at every stage of your life.
The frequency of medical checkups for teachers may differ depending on various factors, including medical status, particular risk, overall health status, age, and personal medical history.
It is advised that teachers should run a comprehensive medical checkup on their health once a year. They should allow medical practitioners to closely watch their health by performing routine screenings and detecting potential health issues early. During my comprehensive checkup in 2017, my Doctor noticed I had an unusual growth in my body and booked me for surgery immediately. Having a comprehensive medical checkup at least once a year is essential.
Periodic screening is another way for teachers to go for checkups. In periodic screening, you are recommended for routine blood pressure measurement, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, and other medical screenings depending on your age, grade, gender, and specific medical issues. Well, these screenings may vary depending on your local healthcare guidelines.
Often, it would be best if you went through some medical checkups before you can be employed in most educational institutions. Medical checkups help the institution know who they are employing and to have a medical report of whatever medical issues they are facing physically, mentally, and psychologically. Some schools also run medical checkups on their teachers and staff after a given period to know the medical conditions of their employees to either promote or terminate their contracts.
The most critical time to go for a checkup is when you feel discomfort with your health. Teachers should always seek medical attention whenever they have an illness or injury that has lingered for days, weeks, or even months. Whenever you see any growth on any part of your body that has not been there, running a medical test should be more important than anything else. Pay close attention to your health by frequently going for medical checkups.
How Can Teachers Handle Their Mental Health?
Teachers are sometimes diagnosed with a common mental disease: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Its symptoms include panic attacks, avoidant behaviors, depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I struggled with insomnia after watching my colleague slump and die in school. I had nightmares about that day because she looked healthy and was one of my closest colleagues. E
ach time I slept, it was more like she was waiting for me to join her on the other side. I got scared every night, and this resulted in insomnia. Insomnia intensified when I began taking work home.
At that point, I was losing my mental health. Insomnia and the workload of scripts and assignments were too much for me to handle.
My Doctor advised me to take a break from school activities which I did. Just like it happened with me, many teachers are fighting PTSD, and the state of their mental health is at stake.
So, how can you handle your mental health as a teacher?
Is it necessary to educate yourself about mental health? Of course. You need to know the symptoms of some mental health and how to deal with them for your good and those around you including your students.
Attend workshops, training, and seminars on mental health; you’ll be amazed by how much you can learn about mental health.
You have to promote mental health awareness. Just as you must educate and groom up the students for their future, you must also create mental health awareness.
Bring topics on stress management and emotional well-being and talk about PTSD. The students should also be aware of the importance of mental health and how they can handle it. By doing so, you are looking after your mental health too.
Your mental health is the brain box of your ability as a teacher, and once that fails, your job begins to fail. I have always taken mental health seriously, making me engage in self-care activities like relaxation, trying out my hobbies, exercising, and maintaining a work balance. When you pay attention to mental health, you’d see the signs of a mental breakdown when it begins, and seeing a Medical Practitioner should be done immediately.
Tips For Teachers To Stay Healthy
Everybody wants a good life with beautiful health, which is important to teachers too. There are many tips for teachers to stay healthy, but I’ll give you some tips I have been using for myself. Are you ready? Alright, let’s go.
- Get Involved In Exercises
Every day I wake up early, by 5 – 6 am, to do cardio which helps regulate blood flow into the heart and raises the heart rate. I am still determining which works for you, but do what works for you.
Jogging, using the gym, walking, or Yoga are great ways of exercising either before going to work or after you come back. I prefer to exercise in the early hours before my day starts.
- Get Enough Sleep
As I said earlier in this article, I always get to sleep for about 7-9 hours every day. After I got over my PTSD, I made it a habit of having enough sleep, and I often go to bed by 9 or 10 and set my alarm for 5 am.
And every time I wake up, I feel refreshed and reenergized for the day. Having enough sleep helps your mental health and gives your body good relaxation through the night.
- Stay Hydrated
I don’t joke with hydration. What is life without water? So why joke with life by not taking 8 cups of water daily? Keeping myself hydrated helps to fight the infections around my kidney, which could lead to kidney failure.
It protects the kidney and helps to boost the body system. I stay healthy by keeping myself hydrated daily. It helps me stay active through the day’s work, and I don’t always worry about getting weak.
- Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene is one key factor in keeping yourself healthy. Some germs circulate in the classroom from the desk, tables, board, and even the surroundings, and you wouldn’t want to be affected by them.
So what do you do? Wash your hands and change your clothes once you get home. After I finish teaching, I often use the staff toilet and wash my hands. Then when I get home, I shower, killing all the germs that must have clung to my body during the day.
- Have Time For Yourself
There is no wrong in having time for yourself as a teacher. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the word “me time,” but if you aren’t, let me fill you in.
“Me time” means alone time. It’s the time you have for yourself. A time to reflect on what you’ve achieved, how far you’ve come, and how much you love what you do.
A time to be with yourself, have fun, do what you love, and enjoy every moment with yourself. Sounds fun. Taking care of yourself is pivotal in your quest to stay healthy.
- Eat Healthy
Junk food contains plenty of toxins; the more you take them, the more you become obese and lose shape. I have never been a fan of junk food since I was a teenager.
Eating healthy and staying healthy was one habit I learned from my mother, who always gave us healthy snacks to take to school. I grew up, became an adult, and I still have that habit of taking healthy meals to school.
A little fruit, nuts, and carrot sticks will do you no harm. Eat well, stay healthy, and clear out the junk food.
- Go For Medical Checkups
I have a routine checkup with my Medical Practitioner at the end of every three months. It was during this period that I learned about my PTSD.
A frequent medical checkup can reduce any harm to your health. A routine checkup for you can help in keeping you healthy. Your Doctor might recommend some vitamins, exercises, and meals for you to help keep you healthy.
- Stay Vaccinated
You might have taken a vaccine for the COVID-19 disease, but that’s not the only reason you should be vaccinated. Just like students take vaccines, teachers are also vaccinated to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines help prevent potential disease transmission between you and your students or you and anyone close to you. I am always ready to get vaccinated to prevent any disease or infection that can be transmitted.
- Disinfect Your Classroom and Surroundings
I often disinfect my home every time and do that in my classroom. I always wipe the table’s surface before I place my books or items.
Disinfecting your surroundings and classroom is the best way to minimize the spread of germs around you. I have mastered the art of always sanitizing areas in the classroom that are frequently touched, like the table, computers, desks, door handles, and faucet handles. Do well to master this art; it’ll minimize the transmission of germs in the classroom.
- Avoid Sharing Items
Germs are spread by sharing items like pencils, pens, markers, paintbrushes, and other classroom items. I always have the things needed for the day’s teaching in my car, and I also created some of the items for my students to have in their locker to avoid sharing each other’s items which may promote germs.
Help prevent germs in your classroom by making these items available for yourself and obligating your students to do the same individually.
Being a teacher comes with so much stress, from the workload to handling many students from different backgrounds. Staying healthy as a teacher should be your priority. Eat well, have enough sleep, and run a routine medical checkup to stay healthy.