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“Self-care is giving yourself permission to pause” – Cecilia Tran
I love today’s quote, especially the word permission. I think Cecilia Tran has it exactly right. (She’s a florist –  you can check out an interview with her for more on her self-care philosophy).
We have to be willing to give ourselves permission to take advantage of self-care opportunities, and seek them out.

What is Self-Care, Anyway? 

When you think of self-care, what do you think of?
Bubble baths. Days off. Walks in the park. Time spent cuddling a puppy.
One of my favourite trending blog posts is one from Thought Catalog that reminds us that self-care is not just a bubble bath or a piece of chocolate cake.
It’s actually a decision to prioritize your well-being in your life, even when you have a ton of work. 
Now, that’s not easy – I get it!

Why Self-Care Is So Important

Sleep is the best meditation

 I know this is a huge trending topic in the teacher education world at the moment. In fact, my friend Patricia Palmer over at Teacher 2 Teacherpreneur is speaking at a conference on this topic!
When we’re responsible for teaching or coaching other people, we become responsible for their learning. Sometimes, it can be a lot of pressure and a non-stop job.
When you consider the marking, lesson planning, exam preparation and other teacher duties, it can seem overwhelming!  Taking a few minutes per day to breathe, and scheduling in self-care regularly can help prevent burnout.

3 Simple Self-Care Ideas 

Want to take care of yourself better? Here are the top 3 ideas I’ve found from experts :
(So, they are not really my ideas, but ones  I’m doing my best to follow). Self-care is a tricky topic for me to master!

1. Sleep

How much do you know about what sleep is? I mean, we know that it makes us feel “refreshed”, and everyone always hammers in that it helps regulate cortisol and gives our brain a break. It gives our brain a rest (although the brain is always working), and lets our body and muscles recuperate from the day’s activities.  That’s it, right?
Actually:

What actually happens when we sleep? 

Well, in an English lesson I was teaching with an eighteen-year-old who commented that she knows she doesn’t sleep enough, I watched two great, short TED talks that explain the details.
First:
I’d suggest you watch this funny little talk by Arianna Huffington. Self-care, she says, includes sleeping – something too many of us brag about not doing.  You can watch it here, or simply click play below:
What really got me about her talk was her “close call”, where she literally fell asleep at her desk, banging her head and cutting it so badly it needed stitches.
Next:
After you’ve seen the TED Talk above, try this one:
It’s a great one to have advanced students watch for homework; you can discuss it the following class. Be aware that it has some scientific vocabulary, though!
Jeff Iliff’s talk is a bit scientific, but his description of what the brain does when it sleeps definitely makes us think twice about pulling our night all-nighter. You
To be perfectly honest, the reason why this post is a late “Motivational Monday”, is because I decided to sleep instead.  I took a half-day off and slept.  It seems silly even to admit it, even as I write this post, but you know what?
It should be okay to admit.   Part of self-care is learning to sleep.  In fact, I even set a sleep goal and stuck to it for months, before letting other goals take priority again.

2. Give Yourself A Break

Trust me, I know the pressure of wanting to get more and more done.
Working 4 jobs this semester has really tested my limits, and made me an expert in Google Calendar and timetable shuffling. Sometimes, though, we have to breathe and be okay with getting less done.
Just last week, I wrote about the difference between being productive and busy – and it’s a good distinction to remember. Multi-tasking is one strategy to avoid to get the most done, most efficiently.
Motivational Monday 69 Unplug Take A Break

3. Take An Unplugged Trip

Even if it’s a day, literally disconnecting from your mobile phone (and figurately disconnecting from your hectic life) can do wonders.
Being unplugged for the day can really help us remember that nature, spending time with loved ones (including your pets), and doing activities we love without interruption is a great way to spend the day.
Travel is one of my favourite self-care activities.   Even if it’s a budget one-day road trip, low-cost airline weekend flight, or a train ride to a city you haven’t seen in your region, take the time to travel.   Personally, I feel the breath of fresh air (literal and figurative) it gives you is well worth the time it costs to take a break.
Haven’t had a day of uninterrupted self-care in awhile?  Schedule it into that calendar!
What are your favourite self-care strategies?  As this is a topic I struggle with myself, I’d love your suggestions!  Please take a moment to comment below.
Have a lovely and productive week!
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P.S. Photography lovers, the photo in today’s post (and poster!) is one I took this past weekend in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Catalunya


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