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School professionals are “on” from the moment they arrive in the building. Formal observations, lesson plans, guidance counselor caseloads, payroll deadlines and safety drills are all part of the everyday stressors they encounter. The job can feel even more consuming when there’s work to bring home.
Given the pressure and demands, it is useful to think holistically about your own wellness and how to maintain your energy level throughout the day. Here are some tips for cultivating healthy habits in the workplace.
- Sleep: A good night’s sleep is essential. Limit your caffeine intake after noon, make your bedroom a dark and soothing space and stick to a regular bedtime hour.
- Water: Dehydration can lead to a bad mood, headaches, dificulty concentrating and finding tasks harder. Stay hydrated throughout the day by keeping a bottle of water nearby. Women should aim for 33 ounces a day and men, 50 ounces a day.
- Sunday planning: Your work will go more smoothly if you feel well prepared. Consider Sunday an opportunity to plan; prioritize what is most important to you, from lesson planning to preparing meals in advance.
- Environmental uplift: Introdauce positive elements into your environment, such as a plant, a memento of a positive moment, or a small photo or artwork that is meaningful to you.
- Physical self-care: Be mindful of your physical needs (ensure time for bathroom breaks, lunch, maintaining good posture, doing some stretches and exercise).
- Emotional self-care: Be aware of your inner dialogue and use positive affirmations to help lift your spirits throughout the day. Learning to be more accepting, kind and forgiving of yourself can reduce stress and anxiety, and help you to create a more balanced lifestyle.
- Relationships: Connect with people who are positive and leave you feeling good.
If you feel overwhelmed, reach out for professional help to de-escalate the stress. The UFT offers supportive, short-term counseling and referrals through the Member Assistance Program, which can be reached at 212-701-9620.
For additional resources, visit Your Well-Being.
The UFT Member Assistance Program offers short-term counseling and outside referrals to help you deal with a wide range of issues. You can contact MAP by calling 1-212-701-9620 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments and referrals are available Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 50 Broadway in Manhattan.
What is your favorite winter-themed children's story?
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen
Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen
The Mitten, by Jan Brett
Total votes: 231