Self-Care for Online Teachers

The online teachers I know are proud of the fact that they can make a living with a laptop and internet connection — and they should be! Online teachers have a lot of freedom and it’s great to take advantage of it.

Given the interest and growth in online learning, more and more teachers are trading the classroom for the webcam (or sometimes just adding the webcam), but it usually adds up to more time looking at a screen and more time sitting.

 

There is a body of research that has found a correlation between long periods of sitting and an elevated risk of illness or injury.  It is important for online teachers to use self-care strategies to stay healthy.

Self Care Strategies

Strategies for self-care are critical for our health and well-being. Self-care is not a luxury or indulgence but a necessity in the work that we do. Also, challenges such as precarious work, multiple workloads or administrative responsibilities can add to the pressures of this demanding profession. Perhaps you are one of the many teachers who has to balance multiple students, schedules and/or workloads.


Self-care: skills and strategies used to maintain personal, familial, emotional, and spiritual needs while attending to the needs and demands of others (Newell & MacNeil, 2016)

Although I’m not teaching English online, I do spend most of my day writing and coaching teachers online. I sit for several hours a day, but I do try to take regular breaks. For example, I used to keep a water pitcher on my desk to ensure I drank enough water. I now use a glass, which means that I have to get up frequently throughout the day to re-fill it.

I believe that self-care strategies for all teachers should be easy to do, no-cost/low cost (state-of-the-art standing desks are not in everyone’s budget) and not add time to our already very busy work schedule.

Before you get started on determining the self-care strategies that work best for you, use this free sitting time calculator to find out how much you sit each day.

Here are some simple self-care strategies for sitting teachers:

  1. Practice the sit-stand switch every 30 minutes (alternate between sitting and standing). Standing more can increase your energy and productivity levels, lower your stress and improve your mood.
  2. Incorporate some simple exercises in both seated and standing positions. Standing more can boost your metabolism, tone muscles and even reduce common aches and pains.

For the complete article, please click here to go directly to the Off2Class blog.  

Thank you to Chris Rush at Off2Class for the opportunity to write on this topic.  

Happy teaching! 

 

References:

Newell, J. & MacNeil, G. (2010). Professional burnout, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue: A review of theoretical terms, risk factors, and preventive methods for clinicians and researchers. Best Practices in Mental Health, 6(2). Lyccum Books.

 

Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., CPP has more than 23 years experience as an ESL teacher, teacher trainer and writer in Canada. She spent seven amazing years teaching in Hong Kong. Patrice has taught students from 8 to 80 in a variety of programs. Patrice has transitioned out of full-time classroom teaching and now works as a teacherpreneur doing the things she loves such as writing, coaching teachers and presenting at conferences. Patrice’s personal experience with professional burn-out in 2015 prompted her to reflect on her own lack of self-care and adopt positive psychology interventions which she now shares with educators and administrators. Her book Teacher Self-Care Manual: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Stressed Teachers will be available this year.

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