it took me a while to figure this one out. my first few years, i was just trying to survive another day. i was taking home work all the time. i didn’t understand that i needed to carve out time for me. i didn’t get it that i needed to take care of myself, emotionally and physically until i had to. several years ago, my anxiety caught up with me along with what my doctor called “situational depression”. he was very adamant, almost forceful. he told it to me straight – i had to make some changes. i chose to make those changes and it helped me a ton not only in my personal life but at school.
it’s very easy in the beginning to get consumed, to forget that you are a real person and not just a teacher. i was really young when i first started teaching at twenty-two. i wanted to do a good job and give it my all. but the thing is… you just can’t be everything to everyone. you have to put yourself first. then, you can take care of your responsibilities in the best way.
so here’s my advice to you:
eating right. your food is your fuel to get you through your day. if you consume healthy and real food, you will feel better and have more energy.
fitness. try to set aside 30 minutes a day at least to some kind of physical exercise. i choose to do mine in the afternoons since i get up so early. but if you can, try to do it in the mornings. that way you know you can get it done and not be distracted in the afternoons.
mental health. teaching is stressful and difficult. there will be times when you will be overwhelmed. don’t hold it in. find someone to talk to about it and let it out. it’s not healthy to set the stress sit inside of you and fester.
going out and having fun. speaking of that stress… you’ll never know how much stress you can alleviate just by laughing and having fun with some friends and/or family. don’t forget your passions. for me, i let go with a game night, happy hour(s), reading a book, hiking, going out to see a band play, playing some beer pong (poorly), or simply sitting on a back porch listening to music with my friends. whatever makes you happy, do it and don’t stop doing it.