Self Care for Teachers Through Thoughtful Journaling

Journaling is a great way to reflect on your experiences, both good and bad. It is a way to process your thoughts and feelings by putting them on paper and making them tangible. Journaling helps you understand yourself and grow as a person.

As teachers we can use journaling to reflect on our teaching practices, what happens in our classroom, and our teaching lives. Being an educator is a demanding job and journaling is a great way to manage our emotions and reflect on how to better ourselves. Here are a few essential questions we can ask ourselves everyday:

Gratitude-It is important to take time everyday and think about what we are grateful for. Taking the time to appreciate the good things in their life, both big and small, can help teachers focus on the positive and boost their happiness levels.

  1. What am I thankful for?
  2. Who am I thankful for, and how can I show it?

Make a difference-Teachers are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, especially their students. Take time to answer these questions each day about making a difference in people's lives. Just identifying one thing for each question makes us better teachers and people. 

  1. How have I made a difference to someone today?
  2. How can I continue to make a difference to my students and others around me? 

Take action-Writing down your plan of action is the first step to completing it. Journaling your ideas for making yourself a better person and educator can help you visualize yourself completing your task. 

  1. What action will I take today to become a more mindful educator?
  2. What areas of self-care will I focus on today to help myself?

In Permission To Pause, Dorothy VanderJagt provides questions for teachers about their thoughts, ideas, goals, and inspirations. Here are five thoughtful journaling prompts to get you started:

1. What makes me happy? Is anything standing in the way of my happiness? The answer to these questions are going to be different for everyone. Take time to think of your life and the different aspects of it. Are there people in your life that make you smile no matter what? Is there something specific about being an educator that sparks joy in you? Reflect on your daily life and understand your own values. When you look back, what is stopping you from being happy?

2. What can I begin doing today to become an even better teacher than I was yesterday? This is an essential question that all educators should be asking themselves everyday. Reflect on your teaching. What went well today? What could have gone better? What did you learn? Taking the time to reflect on your teaching can help you identify areas where you can improve. Is there something you have always wanted to experiment with or change in your classroom? There is no better time to try it than now. 

3. How can I focus on being present with others today? When you are interacting with others, try to be present in the moment and focus on what is happening right now. Don't worry about the past or the future, just focus on the here and now. Think about where your mind wonders when you are with other people. When you are interacting with others, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or distracted?

4. What was the best part about yesterday? What did I learn from yesterday to make today even better? Think back to yesterday and go over it in your head. No matter if it was a good or a bad day, there was something great that made it standout. How can the greatness from yesterday be implemented or adapted to today to make the day better? Think about the challenges you overcame and the things you enjoyed yesterday to make today wonderful. 

5. What goals have I set for myself? What steps can I take toward accomplishing my goals? Without knowing it, you have set goals for every aspect of your life. Take time to write these goals down to visualize them. What do you want to achieve in your life? What are you passionate about? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Once you have a list of goals, you can start to prioritize them. Break down your goals into smaller steps. This will make them seem less daunting and more achievable. One small step towards accomplishing your goal is still progress. 

Trying to journal as often as possible is a great way to relieve stress, unwind, reflect on your thoughts and feelings, and understand yourself as a person and educator. Using these prompts and more from Permission to Pauseyou can take the steps to become a better educator. 

Main post image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

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