Back-to-School Routines and Self Care for Teachers and Parents

Jennifer Gravlee

I am a huge advocate for self care, but also am realistic about how challenging it can be. I know during summer, it is a little easier to make it a priority. We may have less responsibilities and stress during that time resulting in more flexibility to move our health up a notch on the to do list. I told myself, "I will continue these self care habits when school starts." Last week proved that was harder to achieve than I anticipated. I had to have a “self” meeting and regroup to make sure I had a realistic plan I would stick to moving forward.

Parents and educators are natural caregivers that are always finding ways they can help others and improve their classroom and family environment. In the excitement and hustle and bustle of the new school year we tend to let our needs fall to the side. I find that our mental care is even more important these days with all of the chaos of the world, unknowns and negative news headlines. I encourage all of you to sit down and make a plan for you. For teachers, we plan our teaching days by the hour, we plan lessons for our students, we live by a calendar, we plan for our children and family. Now it is time to plan for you. We teach our children to take care of their emotional needs and that we need to focus on self before we can take care of others, these same guidelines should apply to you as well. I encourage you to spend some time alone this evening and ask yourself, 'what habits am I going to create for me?" Have a plan you will stick to, write it on your calendar if that works for you, set reminders, have an accountability buddy, do whatever it takes to make it a top priority. One thing I promise is that it will make your year even better. You are amazing and deserve to be celebrated. Now celebrate!



Ideas for Self Care Activities:

  • Daily quiet time (I have a designated meditation spot in my house.)
  • Listen to motivational or podcast that interest you on the drive to work
  • Get outside as much as possible
  • Read before bed
  • Exercise daily
  • Pay attention to what you put in your body, food is way more powerful than what some may realize
  • Limit your screen/tv time
  • Write in your journal
  • Take a break from social media
  • Put the phone away and spend time with people who are important to you
  • Surround yourself with positive people who will build you up
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Feel emotions, do not try and hide them
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Set Boundaries (it's ok to say no)
  • Have hard discussions
  • Be mindful of your thoughts and words
  • Get out in nature (we live in a beautiful state)
  • Do more of what you love, even if it seems scary (Stop saying "one day")

We are all our own person, so we need different things. Spend time alone and your soul will tell you what you need for self care. As always, reach out if you need anything. This will be a good week because you are some of the most amazing humans on the planet!

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About the Author

Jennifer Gravlee, Aspen Leadership Institute Coach

Jennifer was born and raised in Bartlett, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in Elementary Education. She brings 7 years of teaching experience to Aspen and loves helping children grow and learn. She can best be described as energetic, outgoing, passionate and optimistic.



B.S., Elementary Education & Special Education, University of Memphis