Taking care of yourself during hard times; help for NZ educators.

Taking care of yourself during hard times; help for NZ educators.

In hard times, it can be really hard to find up.

As a person with life long chronic mental illness I know that it can be hard to find light sometimes.

My husband who is a counselling student reminded me of Te whare tapa whā and I thought it would be a great time to look at practical ways we can use it.

This model by Mason Durie looks at balancing multiple dimensions so we can have wellbeing. 

In our house we are big fans of looking after ourselves first so we can look after our child. Another phrase is "you can't pour from an empty cup."

To look after the children in our care we need to look after ourselves. Children copy what they see and in times of stress are learning about ways to react, healthy or unhealthy.  You could brainstorm with the children in your care ways that they can find meaning and bring energy to their life. 

In this post I look at some practical ways you can look after yourself as an educator so that the children in your care will also have their needs met. 


Practical Ideas for self care for  teachers, educators and adult caregivers of children:

Whenua: Your connection to the land and life that the land gives; the place where you stand.

  • Go for a walk around the block. Find natural things to focus on, if this isn't a possibility go for a virtual walk. pull up google earth or google maps and go for a 'walk' around your neighbourhood.
  • Look at pepeha with your students, your own or others.
  • Get out into your garden or outdoor space. Plant a seed or plant in a pot plant. 

Taha hinengaro: Mental and emotional wellbeing

  • Talk to a colleague, discuss a light topic, ask them if they have seen any great memes lately!
  • Check-in with a friend or family member using Zoom, Face Time, Skype or an online messenger.
  • Say thank you to someone, leave a message on your whiteboard or their social media for your support staff saying how you appreciate them! Spread the (virtual) love!
  • Do yoga, meditation, pilates or prayer. How about including a one minute quiet time in class where students close their eyes or sit quietly and think of something they are thankful for.
  • Have a virtual staffroom happy hour. Connect with your colleagues or other caregivers via zoom for happy hour with your favourite drink! 
  • Have you got a creative outlet? It doesn't need to produce a product! Drawing, sketching, singing, knitting, crochet, dance, making something, these are all things we encourage with our kids and for good reason, they produce happiness!
  • If you are a person who is also looking after a child or family member with special needs - I hear you. Please connect online with people in a similar situation. You are doing awesome! 

Taha tinana: Physical well being

  • Make something healthy and scrummy for your lunch for the week. 
  • Have a look at some workouts on youtube. There are lots of free ones and personally I like that I can stop them halfway through and feel zero guilt or embarrassment for lying on the floor! If you can't fit in a physical work out aside from teaching, why not integrate it into your day and do it alongside your tamariki? If the students are playing a running game why not walk around the edge of their game a couple of times and get in a couple of hundred steps :) 

Taha whanau:  Family

  • Is there someone in your family, friends or even former colleagues you haven't had an opportunity to chat with lately? How about sending them a text or instant message?
  • Does your family (or school family) have a facebook group or page? You could organise a virtual reunion, have people share a photo or memory. 

Taha wairua: Spiritual

  • Go for a walk in nature, listen to the sounds around you and see what feelings they illicit. 
  • Spend time exploring local landmarks, you can do this in person or virtually. 
  • Connect with your local faith or community group. Many groups are meeting online.
  • Learn a waiata or song or join an online karaoke group - yes that is a thing!
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