The world of education is demanding. We all know this. As a teacher, you are juggling so many responsibilities! That’s why knowing the power of habits is transformative. We’re not just talking about habits in your classroom, we’re talking about YOUR habits such as: hydration, nutrition, and yes, even how to turn your classroom into a wellness sanctuary. Inspired by “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, I want to share healthy habits for teachers that will have you not just surviving but flourishing in the teaching world! Keep reading!
Understanding the Power of Healthy Habits for Teachers
Before we jump into specific healthy habits, let’s talk about what a habit is. Habits are simply the little decisions and actions we do every single day. According to James Clear in “Atomic Habits,” they are the interest of self-improvement. Over time, the little changes you make accumulate and bigger outcomes happen. Habits can influence how we navigate both personal and professional challenges which is why we need to start making small, positive habits personally and professionally.
Breaking the Cycle
One of Clear’s key insights is the importance of breaking old, unhelpful cycles. This means you’re being mindful of your routines and identifying cues that lead to undesired behaviors. To break a cycle, Clear suggests starting with small changes. For example, if an unhealthy snack is what you always have after a stressful afternoon, replace that snack with something healthier or go on short walk to make a positive change.
Starting Healthy Habits for Teachers: 5 Laws of Behavior Change
In his book, Clear talks about four laws of changing behavior and creating new healthy habits:
- Make It Obvious: Create an environment to make new cues visible and obvious.
- Make it Attractive: Bundle your habits with something you love to do to make it more appealing.
- Make it Stinkin Simple: Reduce the drama associated with starting something new. Start with small changes that are easy to do.
- Make it Satisfying: Reward yourself for completing your new habit to reinforce the behavior.
All of the above are done using baby steps. Once you have created a healthy teacher habit, you can move on to the next one. However, there are some new habits you can do to make sure you are working on healthy teacher habits…let’s talk about those next!
Hydration: The Foundation of Physical Wellness
When you are starting to add healthy habits for teachers, you want to start with a simple and super important step: hydration. Water is so important! When you drink enough water in a day, your body and brain function the best. Plus, you flush out toxins and keep a clear mind. This simple habit can make a huge difference in your day-to-day teaching experience.
Eat to Fuel Your Body and Mind
The type of nutrients you are putting into your body is a huge part of not only your physical but also your mental health. As teachers, our days are long and demanding. However, we still need to make sure we are fueling bodies with the right foods! Healthy habits for teachers in terms of eating includes enjoying treats in moderation, getting more greens in, practicing portion control, and always having a consistent and nutritious breakfast. In addition, planning your meals ahead of time can save time and help you create healthy eating habits.
Exercise for Stress Relief
Being physically active is an important part of maintaining good health. Now, this doesn’t mean you need an expensive gym membership. It’s all about finding joy in movement. Whether you’re going for a brisk walk, taking a dance class, or just doing a stretching routine, you need to move your body regularly. Remember, 20-30 minutes of daily activity can make a big impact on your overall physical and mental health.
Get Some Sleep
In “Atomic Habits,” James Clear talks about the power of small changes leading to big results. This idea applies to sleep as well. By aiming for 7 to 9 hours of sleep and starting a calming nighttime routine, you set yourself up for better mental clarity. When you go to bed, you should unplug from your phone to get better sleep.
Healthy Habits for Teachers Require Mindfulness
We all know education is demanding. This means it’s important to set healthy boundaries with technology. Healthy habits for teachers means putting limits on how much you are using technology. It’s so important to unplug and give yourself time away from screens. Whether it’s setting specific work hours or doing mindfulness practices like taking these steps to reduce stress, it’s important to take time away from screens and work for your overall well-being.
Self-Care: Non-Negotiable for Every Educator
Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. What is self-care? Well it can be super simple like reading a book, enjoying a hobby, or even just taking a moment to breathe and be present. self -care is about doing the things that will help you fill up your tank and give you more energy and joy. Taking care of yourself is never selfish. On the contrary, it’s an essentially healthy habit for teachers to be the best you can be for your students.
Building Healthy Habits for Teachers
James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” gives fantastic insights into forming habits that are super relevant for teachers. Clear suggests that starting small, focusing on small habits that can grow into more powerful habits. For example, incorporating a five-minute mindfulness practice into your daily routine. This can turn into a habit that makes a big difference on your mental health. The key is always going to be the big C word: consistency. You’ll see more progress the more you’re willing to make small changes in your day to day habits.
Creating a Healthy Workspace
What you have in your physical space, including your classroom, can play a big role in your health. Keeping things clean can help prevent illness and create a happier work environment. Think about doing small actions like regular cleaning and having plants in your classroom to improve the overall vibe of your room. You can even have students do jobs to help you keep everything nice and clean.
Cultivate Supportive Relationships
Healthy habits for teachers aren’t just about individual actions. They are also about community. When you build a strong relationship with fellow teachers, you are creating a support system that is invaluable for strong mental health. Whether it’s sharing tips and tricks, having a workout buddy, or just someone to talk to, these are crucial relationships for building healthy habits.
The Long-Term Perspective: Embracing Healthy Habits for Lifelong Wellness
Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine is really an investment for long-term health and teaching career. As teachers, we have the power to influence our own lives as well as those of our students. Modeling healthy habits allows us to inspire our students to do similar practices. Some of the various habits above like 5 minutes of meditation or calm can be great to incorporate into your classroom.
Being an educational rockstar is more than just being awesome in the classroom. It also means that you’re taking care of yourself. When you embrace healthy habits, you will grow personally and professionally. Plus, your students are always watching and you’re teaching them healthy habits too.