Back to School: 5 Wellness Tips for Teachers

Brian Tunney
Brian Tunney
10 minute read
August 19, 2022
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Summer is a tricky season, especially for teachers and educators. Just when you start easing into that comfortable, relaxed mode, it’s time to return to school. And with that comes another class, another series of lesson plans, and another amazing bunch of students ready to work hard and play hard. Say goodbye to the sun and fun. Say hello to the alarm clock.

Right about now, halfway through August, that time is upon our teacher friends. And because it’s Back To School season (and also because we love our teachers), it’s important for teachers and educators to come into school not only ready to teach, but ready to take care of themselves. According to this survey from The Rand Corporation, a much higher proportion of teachers reported frequent job-related stress and symptoms of depression than the general adult population.

Job stress can lead to poor health, including psychological and physiological symptoms, and in rare cases, injury. So it’s important that teachers and educators come back to school ready to handle the many demands they face. Fortunately, coping with stress on the job has become a science all on its own, and there are various methods teachers, educators and anyone with a stressful job can utilize to get through the rough patches. Here are five wellness tips for teachers and educators that can help get them from September to May.

Keep Washing Your Hands

Hand hygiene is an easy, affordable, and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and keep students and teachers healthy. Good hand hygiene practices can reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, by 21%. And it’s important to continue practicing hand hygiene before and after school, before and after breaks, before and after preparing food, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and after using the restroom. School-based programs promoting hand hygiene can result in less gastrointestinal and respiratory illness and fewer missed school or program days.

Make Nutrition A Priority

Teaching is a cognitively complex profession. Throughout the course of a normal school day, teachers and educators make hundreds of decisions and respond to a variety of unexpected turns that can happen within the classroom. And just because you’re not getting 10,000 steps out of teaching math doesn’t mean it’s not taxing on your brain. The brain accounts for 20% of the body’s energy use per day, so it needs daily fuel. Foods to consume for better brain power include green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, tea and coffee, and walnuts. 

Count Your Steps

Being on your feet for hours at a time might not count in the world of CrossFit, but it certainly is exercise, and taxing on the body. Activity trackers such as FitBit track the number of steps you take during the course of a day, and can also monitor heart rate, sleep habits and minutes spent in the cardio zone. Counting your steps each day is a good reminder that you certainly did exercise even if you didn’t make it into the gym after school ends. In fact, 10,000 steps is equal to five miles and about 30 minutes of exercise per day. And because it also tracks sleep, it can help you dial in your sleep routine as well. 

Participate in Activity Groups/Intramural Sports

Extracurricular activities are a great way for teachers and students to break up the routine of their school day, and they provide both teachers and students with opportunities to incorporate skills (both athletic and non-athletic) learned outside of the classroom into a fun environment. You can build social skills outside of the classroom, challenge your students in a new way and help yourself in the process. 

Make Self Care A Priority

Prioritizing self-care is key to establishing wellness and work-life balance habits. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others, and it doesn’t end when you enter the classroom. Schedule that massage, get some weekend exercise in, and don’t forget that Restore Hyper Wellness offers a 20% discount for teachers and educators, so you can do more teaching! (See your local Restore for information on teacher discounts.)

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