Back to School Selfcare for Itinerant Teachers: 5 New Strategies to Reduce Stress

Starting back to school can be an incredibly stressful and busy time. Getting children or students back into the groove can be exhausting for parents and teachers. Being both I find that September is a potluck of emotions. I love getting back to teaching, my students and a routine. I also dread the schedule, the planning and the balancing act between school and home. September seems to go by slowly and quickly….when I am in it it seems like I am treading in molasses, but once it is October I feel like it was over in a blink. This is why I think selfcare is so important for the first couple of months.

This years start up I told myself I was going to make time for myself. Little things can make a huge difference and seem less daunting. I tried to think of the top five things that make my day stressful and then tried to brainstorm ideas to alleviate that stress.

Waking Up Earlier

I am not an early bird, not when I was a kid or even as a new mom. I am a night owl. This isn’t always the best sleep habit for a school schedule, so this summer I tried to have a bed time. Going to bed at 2 am is a hard habit to break come Labor Day. This summer I stuck to this self induced rule with consistancy. Much to my surprise it wasn’t that difficult and made for a better transition into going back to work.

I also realized I have to stop the morning routine I have had for years.

  • Shower
  • Get half ready
  • Get child up and ready
  • Breakfast
  • Finish getting ready
  • Sucking down a luke warm cup of coffee at lightning speed
  • Grab everything by the door
  • Leave maybe on time

It was just a mad dash every morning. Probably some panic, yelling and forgetting. This is not a great way to start the day, so I decided I need to get up earlier and develop a new order of operations.

  • 1x snooze
  • Coffee, Instagram and Texts in a cozy chair
  • Wake up child
  • Get child ready
  • Breakfast
  • Get myself ready
  • Leave on time

So far this is working. We are getting out the door on time and less racing from task to task. My mini is also taking time after breakfast to chill for a bit while I am getting ready.

Yoga

If you read my blog or follow me on Instagram you know I love yoga and I try to keep at it. I have only been practicing since March, so I am no expert, but I have discovered it is my jam and I need it to function.

Getting back to work and balancing home takes alot out of me in the beginning and working out would normally go to the bottom of the to do list, but this September I told myself I need to keep at it. I have been trying to head to a class at least once a week and try to fit in home yoga two times a week.

So far it is happening. This might be the most consistent I have ever been-with fitness. I recently tried a new class and it was awesome, however it did take effort to get there. It was a Saturday…could have easily skipped it. It was a farther drive…another reason to put it off, but I didn’t and I am happy I did. Feeding the body and soul keeps me a sane momma.

If yoga isn’t your jam….find and do what works for you.

  • Swim
  • Bike
  • Hike
  • Power Walk
  • Fitness Class
  • Weights
  • Cardio
  • Spin
  • Pilates

Down Time

Being an itinerant teacher I am in the car multiple times a day. I told myself I was going to use this time as a time to recharge. These are a few ways I am staying happy during my between, school drives.

  • Audible Books
  • Music
  • Positive phone calls
  • Silence

Being mentally consumed by your caseload and co-workers all day can be draining. I know all to well how easy it is to get wrapped up in the negativity or not let something go, but this transition times allows me to be fresh for the next student at the next school.

Hydrate

Drinking enough water is something I think many people struggle with or make a priority. Being itinerant I struggle with getting enough water in for two reasons:

  • Forgetting my water in the car or a school.
  • Making time to make a potty stop.

Both I am trying to remedy this year.

  • Bought a new cup only for water that I can leave in the car and rinse at school.
  • Not just pushing through the day. Mentally acknowledging I am a priority.
  • Stopping at each school if needed.
  • Finding all the fountains with the filter systems.

Treat Yourself

I love me some pumpkin spice coffee….however this can turn into a daily sugar issue, so I am only treating myself once a week. I have a low stress caseload, so a daily treat isn’t needed. My waist line thanks all my beautiful students! However I have had years where I need a daily treat. It doesn’t have to be calorie conscious or cost anything. Sometimes it was making time for trash tv at night or a weekly manicure.

Anything that makes you happy and motivates….do it! Fill your bucket, make time for yourself. If you are empty and cranky you aren’t rocking it out everyday. Selfcare is not selfish.

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