In the wake of World Mental Health Day, we wanted to talk about something not a lot of people talk about. Why is it important for teachers to focus on their mental health and wellness? In your day-to-day juggle, it becomes very easy to put other people’s mental health and wellbeing needs ahead of your own. Just as during a flight safety briefing adults are reminded to secure their safety belts and oxygen masks first in any emergency before assisting others, the same holds good for mental health. Only when you are healthy and well can you care for others. How can you make sure you create a positive mental health culture in yourself as well as in your students?

Here are our Top 5 tips:

1. Be active, even at home

All of us have our own ways to de-stress and feel rejuvenated. The important things is to make the time to de-stress.

Here are our favorite, and easy, ways to de-stress:

  1. Go for a 10-minute walk.
  2. Pause, close your eyes and take ten deep breaths.
  3. Every 1 hour, take a screen-free break and move away from your computer screen or phone.
  4. Take care of your physical well-being by engaging in some routine exercise or activity.

2. Stay connected

Talking about work issues with a colleague or mentor is a great way to resolve a problem. Sometimes just expressing something out loud can help you untangle a tricky issue and your conversation partner might help you see something from a different point of view!

3. Maintain work-life balance

Be Present: Create clear boundaries between work and home. Trying to limit the amount of school work you bring home and creating an end-of-day ritual are a few ways to get started.

Set Realistic Expectations – It’s OK to Say ‘No’: While teachers are amazing multi-taskers, we are also (mere) humans. People will understand if you do not have time to take on another after-school activity, implement another classroom initiative, or mentor another student teacher.

4. Make the most of technological and online avenues for professional development

Connecting, sharing, and discussing with other educators through online groups and webinars will throw fresh perspectives on mundane tasks and activities, give you new ideas, and rejuvenate you. Sometimes, we all need to step aside from the path we're walking on to discover fresh, new ways of doing things.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness could be as simple as observing each child in your class without any judgment. Your class doesn’t have to be perfectly still and quiet for you to do this! Mindfulness is all about finding the calm amongst the chaos. You can further extend it by teaching mindfulness to your students which will result in increased focus, reduced stress, and an improvement in their academic performance.

What are some of the health and wellness tips you follow as a teacher? Do share them in the comments section.