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Health, Self-care

Teachers and COVID-19: How to Make Your Mental Health a Priority

The normal tips for staying healthy during the winter months just do not cut it this year. Health care workers, public works and of course our front-line heroes in the classroom need support and compassion more than ever. They are being taxed physically, mentally, and emotionally beyond what we could have ever imagined. The term “unprecedented times” is overused but so appropriate. How can we begin to mitigate the challenges this year has presented us?

Teachers need more resources, the demands of their job are changing daily. As leaders respond to the COVID-19 pandemic regarding physical safety measures there are a few habits that teachers need to adopt to navigate their way through the uncertainty. 

ADAPT had the opportunity to interview a Physical Education teacher who has a clear plan for her fellow front-line workers to follow in hopes of avoiding chronic stress and burnout. Danielle Sandi’s experience in the health & wellness field started as a collegiate athlete, personal trainer, and multisport coach. Now, as an educator she uses her experience from each of these roles to find balance in work and life. 

  1. Take breathers. Literally, take multiple breaks throughout your day whether you are teaching in person, virtually or both. Deep breathing exercises, mediation, and prayer can actually lower your blood pressure and help keep a positive perspective.

2. Re-evaluate expectations. Take each day at a time, protocols are changing in a blink of an eye so be willing to adjust your lessons, time-frames and or teaching methods. 

3. Refuel. Rest. Recover. Proper nutrition, regular physical activity and adequate sleep are cornerstones of optimal wellness, but now they are even more important. If these adopting these habits seem daunting, start with an easier task.  Drinking enough water to keep hydrated and try adding a vitamin supplement to your daily routine. It’s a sustainable change that can have long-term benefits. 

Academic and social outcomes are still important this year, but the priority should be the well-being of our teachers and students. It’s a turbulent time to be a teacher. The job is 24/7, not just while logged-on or on campus.

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