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Adjusting to a New Normal: Self-Care for Educators

by Toni Backstrom on Apr 15, 2020

Tags
  • COVID-19
  • Self-Care
Toni Backstrom

Resources for Remote Learning

It feels like we are in an alternate universe. Everything we knew is different now, suddenly, and seemingly without warning or end. Will we ever get back to “normal,” will schools and businesses open again? Will there be toilet paper on the shelves again soon? How do we adjust and persevere?

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” ~Aristotle

We will adjust. We will persevere. I will adjust. I will persevere. (Repeat three times).

In times of turmoil, it is critical that you take a moment each day for yourself. As educators, as leaders, you are looked upon to provide guidance, strength, vision, and positivity. To do that, you must fill yourself with those attributes first, before you can share them. The strongest among us often feel the deepest and must learn to take time for self-care. Taking that moment for yourself may be exercise or meditation. That moment may be cooking or baking, it might be a bubble bath. You may “escape” into a TV show or really good novel you’ve been meaning to read. Whatever your moment is—TAKE IT! Show yourself grace—honor your own presence so that you may help others.

It is also critical to stay connected. Humans are social beings and we share our energies with one another. While we are being asked to distance from one another physically, we can still connect. Find time each day to connect with colleagues, family, and friends by using the technology available to us—FaceTime, Zoom, Snapchat calls…even a regular old phone call. Texting and “snapping” are not the same as hearing someone’s voice or seeing their smile. Perhaps your neighborhood can have a social-distancing dinner, where everyone goes out front and eats outside. Remember when you used to get a card or letter in the mail? Not junk mail or bills, an actual letter from someone you know? Send those—the U.S. Postal Service is still open and you can send a handwritten note letting them know you’re thinking about them. They can pull that note out when they need to feel connected again.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~Helen Keller

While we stay connected, we also need to DISCONNECT. Take a break from social media, from the news, and reconnect with nature. We nurture ourselves when we spend time outside, take in fresh air, listen to the sounds around us, soak up a little sun (natural vitamin D is REALLY good for us…in moderation), and take the opportunity to let go of what we cannot control. It is OK to let go of what we cannot control.

And, one final note today, find the goodness in the world and in your community. If you look around, you’ll find it. Celebrate that goodness and join in. Everyone has different circumstances, and there is a way for each of us to give back. One small act of kindness can cause a ripple effect—start that ripple. Check on your neighbor, write that note, donate to a food pantry, make a sign of positivity and post it on your door for all to see—or tape it to your neighbor’s door, call your family, foster an animal from the shelter. Each small act is a new drop of compassion “oil” on humanity—seeping in, healing, restoring. It is your time, time to encourage, applaud, and empower yourself and others with compassion and grace.

“A single act of kindness is like a drop of oil on a patch of dry skin – seeping, spreading, and affecting more than the original need.”
~Richelle E. Goodrich

It’s a challenging time for everyone, including educators. Take a look at the support and resources we offer for remote learning by visiting our Remote Learning Support and Resources page.

Toni Backstrom is Director of Strategic Solutions for Voyager Sopris Learning. Says Toni, "I believe teachers are the most important factor in student success. I am honored to work with officials from states and districts across the country to provide meaningful professional learning opportunities for their teachers. In my more than 15 years with Voyager Sopris Learning I have been fortunate to partner with people in Departments of Education, large school districts, small school districts, and individual schools around the country. True partnership is key to success as we strive to increase outcomes for all students."

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