Teacher Appreciation Month: Self-Care Tips for Educators

Apr 26, 2024
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Teachers work hard.

So hard in fact, that an entire month is dedicated to celebrating the work that educators put in day in and day out. Students, parents, friends, family, and building administrators come together every year to show their gratitude to the educators in their lives, but sometimes, a little self-pampering is the best form of appreciation.

Here are some ideas to hold your own personal celebration of you for Teacher Appreciation Month:

In the Classroom

​​Pack lunch—with your favorite take-out​

Yes, you only have 20 minutes (hopefully) to shovel food into your mouth before the kids come knocking on your door with questions, crises, or just a story they need to tell you. Squeeze as much enjoyment as you can out of every bite this week (and remove the stress of meal planning) by treating yourself to your favorite take-out meals instead of the usual leftovers. Even better, lots of restaurants offer educator discounts and deals for Teacher Appreciation Month and Week—be sure to ask.

​​Splurge on new classroom supplies​

It’s the blessing and curse of all great teachers—you never stop thinking about teaching. Embrace the obsession this week and spring for those cool new posters, art supplies, library additions, or flexible furnishing options that you’ve been eyeing for your classroom. Michael’s craft supply stores offer an awesome teacher appreciation discount.

Take a walk down memory lane

For all of the frustrating, stressful, and difficult moments in the classroom, there are just as many interactions with students that make it all totally worth it. And, you’ve probably got plenty of little tokens collected and given to you by students through the years as mementos. Get them all out, grab a box of Kleenex, and relive those endearing and self-affirming encounters. 

You can also assemble a “rainy day” box of positive notes, thank-you cards, inspirational quotes, and anything else you’ve received from students, staff, parents, and others over the years to look over on days when you’re feeling down. This can be a great way to give you a bit of encouragement and help you to get through those days when all you want to do is quit.

Make time for yourself every day

Make time for yourself every single day. Yes, that seems like a lofty goal, but it is oh-so important in your self-care routine. Pull up your calendar, and schedule out when you can fit some self-care into your day. Spending even just 10 minutes in your day centered around yourself can make a huge difference. Learn to cherish these moments about yourself, and soon they will become habit.

Out of the Classroom

Schedule a day for pampering

This may be an obvious one, but really, who can argue with a fresh new haircut, relaxing massage, or luxurious mani-pedi? Pick an evening and make an appointment for the works at your favorite salon or spa. The “me time” is more than deserved.

Relax and enjoy yourself

How often do you get home from a long day in your classroom and stare longingly at your couch and TV, only to make the motivated choice and drag yourself into the kitchen to cook dinner, off to the gym for a workout, or right back out the door to run errands?

We applaud your productivity (and generally encourage it) but this week, give in to the pull of relaxation. Throw on those sweats, curl up with a blanket, and shamelessly indulge that show that’s been on your watchlist for months, that new video game, or the novel you can't wait to finish. Have a passion project you’ve been meaning to work on?

You can also use your self-care time to pursue a hobby or side project of yours. Carving out that much-needed me time is important in approaching tomorrow with a clear head and refreshed sense of purpose.

Spend time with others who bring you joy

While spending lots of time around other people can be draining, it can also be uplifting. Spending some extra time with friends and family and creating a team of cheerleaders in your personal life can help you through the good times and the bad. Surround yourself with those who bring you joy, lift you up, and encourage you.

You can also try organizing a happy hour with your colleagues. Pick a brand new, extra tasty, super swanky, or tried-and-true restaurant (don’t forget to ask about those Teacher Appreciation Week deals). If you can’t meet face-to-face with all your favorites, schedule a virtual gathering and download a game everyone will enjoy, or just leave work-talk at the door and let the conversation flow. Laughter and stress-relief guaranteed to ensue.

Indulge in retail therapy

No, you should not max out your credit cards on a massive mall run. But, this week is the perfect time to make a big purchase you’ve been considering for a while, or simply find a couple summer additions for your wardrobe. Let this be the sign you’ve been waiting for to finally get those new athletic shoes. Plenty of retail stores offer deals and coupons for Teacher Appreciation Week too.

Go on an adventure

We all need to break up the regular routine from time to time—it’s refreshing, invigorating, and helps us return to our day-to-day with new enthusiasm. So, treat yourself to the gift of a little adventure this week. Think of an outing you’ve been wanting to find time for—whether it’s visiting a museum, checking out a park, or taking a day-trip to a nearby town—and make it happen.

Volunteer for a cause you care about

Dedicate some time to give back to your community by volunteering for a cause that aligns with your values. Whether it's tutoring students after school, participating in a local environmental cleanup, or helping out at a food bank, contributing to something meaningful outside of your teaching role can be fulfilling and rejuvenating. Consider reaching out to local non-profit organizations or community centers to explore volunteer opportunities that resonate with your passions and skills.

Prioritize your mental health

Don’t forget about prioritizing your mental health. While it can be difficult to put yourself first in a profession where you care for others, it is the single most important thing you can do for you. When your mental health is treated and cared for, you can focus on doing what you love most—teaching. WeAreTeachers has a fantastic resource for you to explore different mental health options and answers to some of the top challenges that many educators face when seeking care for mental health.

It’s also important to be sure to ask for help when you need it. Don’t try to take on the responsibility of handling everything all the time; this is how educators burn out. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you know your limits and know when to ask for the support of others.

You put your hearts and souls into your career as educators, and your passion is truly inspiring for everyone at Edmentum to watch. We appreciate all that you do as educators, and hope you'll take a little time for you this week.

Looking for more ways to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Month? Explore our article, Creative Ways to Show Educator Appreciation for Your Staff.

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