Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators Book Study
NOVEMBER Topic: TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF (develops POSITIVE SELF-PERCEPTION)
Physical self-care and well being are foundational for many other habits. When your body is cared for, you're better able to deal with emotions. Resilient people have a healthy self-perception, are committed to taking care of themselves, and accept themselves more or less as they are.
Self-care is the root of resilience when you're dragging yourself toward winter break.
What Happens to Your Brain and Body When You Sleep?
1. Your brain creates and consolidates memories and organizes thoughts. If you sleep well the night before a conference, your brain prepares to form memories. If you sleep well after, you brain cements in the new information.
2. Your brain makes creative connections, remote associations, and unusual connections, which can lead to a major aha! moment upon waking. There's science and truth in the old adage, "Sleep on it."
3. Your brain processes information, prepares for action, and makes decisions.
4. Your brain is cleaned up. Toxic molecules flush out of your body systems, including out of your brain. Researchers connect lack of sleep with the plaque that builds up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
5. Your brain remembers how to perform physical tasks. Short-term memories stored in the motor cortex, move into the temporal lobe, where they become long-term memories.
6. Your hunger hormones regulate themselves.
7. Your body rests and recuperates because normal physiological processes slow way down. Your intestines rest. Your liver detoxifies more efficiently. Your muscles grow.
Movement: Your brain, physical body, and emotions need it!
1. Whether you move is one of the greatest predictors of how well you will age. What's your vision of yourself at age 78?
2. Exercise improves long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem solving. This is why kids need recess a couple times a day.
3. The risk of Alzheimer's, heart disease, and cancer is slashed in people who exercise for 30 minutes a few times a week.
4. Exercise regulates the neurotransmitters that govern our mental health. Almost every doctor or psychiatrist will prescribe exercise for depression.
5. Cognitive performance can be measurably boosted through cardiovascular exercise in as little as four weeks.
6. It doesn't take a lot of exercise to reap the physical and mental benefits. Walking a few times a week is very beneficial, and if you can get aerobic exercise two or three times a week, you're doing great.
Cleanup: Day 1 - Toss It
Today, after school, while you listen to good music or an interesting podcast, toss, recycle, and throw out as much as possible in 15 minutes. It's not the day to organize or clean; this is just tossing-time. Getting rid of clutter will make you feel better. You may need to to repeat this Toss It step over several days.
Cleanup: Day 2 - Organize
On another day, spend 30 minutes organizing papers, materials, supplies, student work, and so on. This step might also need to be repeated.
Cleanup: Day 3 - Beautify
Make your space more beautiful in some way 0 decorate, bring in a potted plant, post a photo of you and your dog, and so on. Again, limit your time to 15-30 minutes.
Cleaning regularly in small chunks is key to organization.
4 Reasons Why We Don't Take Care of Ourselves
1. We're missing information. Sometimes we have a knowledge gap, then we hear new information (or even something we've heard before) about exercise or sleep or kale, and it catapults us into behavior change.
2. We don't know how. We want to eat better, but where do we start? What exactly do we do? We all have skill gaps of different sizes. Self-care is learned.
3. We don't really think we need to take care of ourselves. We have a will gap get by on minimal sleep, we can teach with a cold, and we figure we can rest later.
4. We don't feel we deserve to take care of ourselves. It is an emotional intelligence gap when we feel that our value is tied to our output and we don't say no to others. Valuing yourself and feeling that you are worth self-care are core to emotional intelligence.
When You Are in Self-Care Crisis
Do some of these things every day for a week in order to feel better; then, once you're out of crisis mode, you can make a self-care improvement plan.
1. Sleep. Even if you won't be fully ready for tomorrow or your emails go unanswered, go to sleep. Aim to sleep for 30 minutes longer tonight than your average of the past three nights.
2. Ask for help. Say, "I'm having a really hard time right now. I'm not sure what to do, but I now I need to make some changes to the way I'm caring for myself. Could you help me figure this out?" And then make a couple of specific requests, such as:
- "Could you take care of the kids so I can go to bed early?"
- "Could you make me lunch tomorrow?"
- "Please call my doctor and get me an appointment as soon as possible."
3. Track your exhaustion level for a week.
Offer yourself the advice you'd give your best friend if you saw him or her in the state you are in. What would you tell your best friend to do? Heed that advice.
4. Offer yourself the advice you'd give your best friend to do? Heed that advice.
5. Take a one-minute break every hour and do this: Sit down, close your eyes, and visualize the tension and stress in your body pouring out of your hands. Take slow, deep breaths. Visualize your feet as portals to rejuvenating energy, and imagine energy surging up through your body from your feet.
6. Take a daily 20-minute walk outside, ideally in the sun.
7. Take one "next step" each day to initiate bigger change. Make a doctor appointment, buy vitamins, sign up for an exercise class, make a plan with a friend to go hiking, stock your refrigerator with healthy foods, and so on.