We’ve probably all seen some version of this graph, typically with a heading for a first year teacher. I have seen this type of pattern for all teachers, students, and administrators at some point in their year or career. The good news is that the dip is optional (for the most part)! Some ways to stay out of the dip and increase self-care:
1. At our school we learn about and teach the basics of Zones of Regulation. Zones of Regulation is being used in schools across the country to help students self regulate and understand their emotions. Recognizing your own social-emotional zone(s) and having strategies to move out of the less desirable zones to your healthy place is a great start staying out of the deep dip. All of the Zones are natural human emotional states but staying in blue, yellow, or red for too long can have detrimental impacts on your health and your ability to best serve others.
2. Mindfulness is a pretty popular buzzword in education SEL right now. There are many benefits to mindfulness including:
- Stress Reduction
- Boosting Working Memory
- Better Focus
- Relationship Satisfaction
In our fast paced highly distracted world a few minutes of quiet focus on the here and now almost feels foreign. A couple of Mindfulness apps and websites which some of my teachers have been using with their students are calm and headspace. I have used both of them as well as a way to get back to my healthy zone. As with most things that are good for you the more you practice mindfulness the stronger the effects.
3. Taking time to think about or review the reason(s) you first went into education can be a helpful strategy as well. Most educators dive into this profession to help others become the best they can be. Know that the tired feeling you may have right now is probably due to that pursuit and you pouring your time, energy, and heart into students and fellow staff members!