“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
No one on this planet experiences perfect mental health or wellness at all times. Therefore, the key to optimal mental health is to remember to balance life. Life is a balancing act. Mental health can affect all areas of our life: spiritual journey, marriage, relationships, eating habits, sleep, our ability to make wise choices, physical health, and much more. Therefore, mental health is as crucial to our lives as our physical well-being. So why should mental health matter? When one’s mental health suffers, you start feeling mentally and physically drained.
Teaching can be exhausting, and the added stress of helping children, adolescents, and their families navigate mental health challenges can be emotionally draining. Therefore, you must take time to care for yourself. Practicing self-care is in the best interest of all the students in your classroom.
Self-care can help you stay on top of your game and handle the challenges during the school day. Ideally, we all should be incorporating self-care into our daily routine. However, our busy schedules often get in our way. Think of it this way: your mental health cup needs to be at total capacity for you to work at optimal levels. So, when you start to feel like your mental health cup is near empty, it’s time to fill it up.
Tips to help you fill up your mental health cup:
- Writing your to-do list the night before improves your sleep, can reduce stress, and help declutter your brain.
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night helps the brain process emotions and you will be better prepared to meet the challenges of a new day.
- Waking up early to spend time talking with God about your cares and concerns can help you improve your focus and daily productivity.
- Breathing exercises throughout your day can help calm your nerves and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Claiming and writing down a Bible promise on an index card and carrying it in your pocket throughout the day will remind you that God is with you at all times.
- Packing a healthy lunch the night before will reduce stress during the mornings. All you’ll have to do is grab it and go.
- Keeping a water bottle handy will help you remember to drink the recommended eight glasses of water, which will significantly increase your energy level and brain function.
- Exercising 20-30 minutes a day will stimulate chemicals in your brain to leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. It will also give your body the shake-up it needs to continue working effectively throughout the day.
- Incorporating the daily recommended fruits and vegetables into your diet will help you maintain good health, and can help you decrease blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress.
- Journaling 10-15 minutes a day will help you reduce stress and anxiety.
- Lighting a candle, and drinking a cup of tea or your favorite beverage while listening to classical music can help reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed.
- Scheduling free time for yourself, and putting it on your calendar, will help you stick to it. Then, you can go on a bike ride, read a book, or pamper yourself.
- Scheduling a monthly body massage can help reduce stress, lower anxiety, and help your brain produce happy chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which will lift your spirits.
- Staying connected with people you love and trust will create a robust emotional support system. It will also help you reduce the occurrence of depression and anxiety during challenging times.
- Finding time to play games together can improve mood, promote relaxation, and reduce anxiety. So, find your deck of Uno cards and have fun!
- Finally, remember to enjoy your Sabbath rest! – Resting on the Sabbath and spiritual rejuvenation is linked to better mental health and less stress. Sabbath helps us free our minds from our labors and provides a break from the perpetual stresses and anxieties that drain our mental well-being. God knew that we would not take a day off on our own, so he gifted us a day to enjoy ourselves with Him and each other. Go for a hike or take a long drive to your favorite park and enjoy the fresh air. Sabbath is the perfect time to enjoy nature!
If you come to a point where your efforts at self-care are not sufficient, please seek professional HELP!
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