“Knowing your superpower changes everything!”Nadalie Bardo
The teacher shortage is real and teacher turnover is costly. As a nation, it costs $2.2 billion dollars per year to address the prominent levels of teacher attrition. It is not my goal to trivialize the issue or presume there is an easy solution. However, I do know that we all have the power at the local school level (every school in the country) to make creating a positive culture and climate a priority. Creating space within our school districts not only for Professional Development but Personal Development as well. We have the power to be kinder to our teachers and each other. We have the power to make promoting work life balance a way of life in our buildings and not just the latest catchphrase.
Focusing on self-love and self-care has become a way of life for me. The journey is not easy and is ongoing. It took me going back to school and becoming a trained therapist to really increase my awareness. And by the way, having a therapist of my own to get there (still do). My determination to love myself has increased my capacity to love, teach, and serve others
without living in a constant state of depletion. I often refer to this as the “Delta Effect.” Whenever we board a plane, we are instructed to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first and then help others. This is how I see self-care as my oxygen. According to CBR, every superhero has a weakness or two. A few to wet our appetite.
According to CBR, every superhero has a weakness or two. A few to wet our appetite.
- Human Torch- lack of water and air
- Flash- running to fast (a gift and a curse, interesting!)
- Sentry-lack of confidence
Let’s start simply by trying to identify what your weakness is. I salute you if this doesn’t apply but indulge me. Set aside 20 minutes to really reflect on two things. A way to record your responses would be helpful. Ponder these prompts:
- Think back to a time when you invested in your self-care (i.e. hobby, riding a motorcycle, painting, dancing). Reflect on how you felt.
- Think back to a time when you had a self-care day or hour planned and it didn’t happen. Reflect on how you felt. What was the roadblock(s)?
Reconnecting with how good you felt when you are operating in the self-care zone is important. Equally as important is identifying what got in the way. I promise you before long you will identify patterns and your Kryptonite will be exposed. It didn’t take me long to identify my Kryptonite. The delusion that I was a “real” superhero and took everything on at home, work, and the community I served. Even “real” superheroes depend on the gifts of others. You don’t see Spiderman in Wonder Woman’s lane.
Let’s stick to the Delta example. I am getting ready to fly home for the weekend. I would be horrified to learn that my pilot was sleep-deprived and/or sick with a severe flu and still assigned to my flight. Teachers show up to school each day like this and how can we effectively teach and lead in those conditions. Research shows that taking time on a regular basis to plan and attend to self-care can greatly decrease stress and increase self-efficacy.
Teachers have many time constraints and busy schedules. Positive Discipline. A 10-minute self-care practice can make all the difference.
- Start a gratitude journal
- Brainstorm 2-3 self-care goals
- Identify a trusted self-care accountability partner, schedule a 10-minute check-in call