Getting Your Energy Back

Getting Your Energy Back
a business professional with their energy drained.

Getting Your Energy Back: The Importance of Self-Care

September 2018 | Issue #01

The beginning of the school year can leave teachers feeling exhausted, burned out, and feeling like they have nothing left to give. As stress hormones like cortisol rise, teachers’ wellness begins to suffer before the holidays are even in sight. Did you know that 60 to 90 percent of all doctor visits in the United States are stress-related? Teachers experience increasing stress as they are asked to do more with less, face heavy workloads, time constraints, and students that may be challenged by trauma and social emotional stress themselves. This presents a dilemma because teachers need to be at their fullest capacity in order to provide students with engaging content, behavior supports, and attend to their social-emotional needs.

Self-care is equally as important for teachers as it is for the students. Educators need to be able to assess their level of stress and develop a self-care plan. In this way, they also teach the importance of wellness to their students. Research shows that we emulate the behavior of those we admire. “When teachers (and school staff) are more relaxed, students are calmer and the overall climate of a school can be transformed.” (Simon, Harnett, Nagler, 2009). Co-regulation is the concept that our emotional state has a direct impact on the other human beings with whom we interface. It is that energy, positive or negative, that we bring to our environment that, in turn, has an effect on our students. For example, a teacher has slept only five hours the night before class because she was working hard preparing a lesson. While, outwardly, it may seem that the teacher is placing her students first; sleep deprivation affects memory, thinking, concentration, and mood which has a direct impact on our students’ success. What does mental wellness and resilience look like? According to Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, characteristics include being flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable (FACES). Relaxation, exercise, deep breathing, listening to calming music, laughter, picturing yourself in a beautiful place, gratitude journaling, and playing with a pet are just a few ideas that might work for you. Robert Epstein supports the idea that planning your day helps to minimize stress and your level of happiness. An effective and balanced educator prepares well-designed lesson plans and resilience plans for themselves and for their students. For more resources on teacher self-care, check out the links below.

Please join us on October 26 at our Behavior Conference which will focus on the Social-Emotional Wellness of Educators (URL:

Griggs, B. (2018, May 03). These charts show why America's teachers are fired up and can't take any more. Retrieved from (URL:

Gariépy, J., Watson, K. K., Du, E., Xie, D. L., Erb, J., Amasino, D., & Platt, M. L. (2014). Retrieved from (URL:

Forest Bathing

Melissa, A. (n.d.). Taking Care of Yourself: Resources to Help with Teacher Self-Care. Retrieved from (URL:

Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom (The Norton Series on the Social Neuroscience of Education): Patricia A. Jennings, Daniel J. Siegel M.D.: 9780393708073: Books. (n.d.). Retrieved from (URL: for teachers