Mindfulness and Teachers- A Great Combination

Face it- teaching is stressful. Yet, you don’t have to be stressed out. Mindfulness can help you. That’s why mindfulness and teachers are a great combination.

I know what you’re thinking-

Isn’t mindfulness some mumbo-jumbo practice?

Not really. It’s just being fully in the moment. Actually, it’s something you already do. Simply, you may not make a focused effort on it.

mindfulness and teachers

Think about it-

Have you ever sat and stared at something going on around you (like an ant moving about looking for food)? Did you reflect on the moment?

Guess what- you practiced mindfulness. You just didn’t do it on purpose. It just happened.

How did you feel in that moment? Did you feel relaxed? Were you stressed out?

I’m guessing it was the opposite.

Just think what your life would be like if you made mindfulness a habit? Here’s a few of the benefits you get if you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

React Positively With Others

Mindfulness helps you react positively with others

One of the tenets of mindfulness is that you don’t judge the situation. Even more, you don’t judge how you’re feeling in the moment.

That’s right. You remove any positive or negative evaluation from the equation. The situation just happens. Feelings aren’t good or bad. They simply exist.

Doesn’t that take the pressure off. As a teacher, you are evaluating people and situations all day.

For example:

  • grading is judging a student’s performance
  • monitoring behavior causes you to assign a good/ bad label on a student’s action
  • self-reflecting on the outcomes of a lesson forces you to judge your own performance

All of this judgmentally takes its toll. As a result, your on edge.

You “get in your feelings”.

Maybe, you react negatively to a comment someone has made. Or, you over-react to a student’s behavior.

Let’s be honest, it happens. You’re stressed, and you react.

Wouldn’t it be better if you instead of reacting to the situation, you acted thoughtfully and rationally because you’re in control of yourself?

That’s what mindfulness does for you.

It allows you to control your own emotions.

Instead of reacting, you act intentionally.

You’ve thought through the situation, and you act in a manner that’s best for you and others.

You won’t get “triggered” anymore.

You know your triggers. More importantly, you know how to not let them bother you and move past them.

Ultimately, you interact more positively with others.

Improved Performance

mindfulness improves performance

Since you’ll be more fully aware of your surroundings, you’ll be open to more opportunities to use those surroundings in your lessons.

In effect, you’ll have increased creativity.

Here’s a story as proof-

I was in the middle of lesson one day when an administrator walked in. She had her clipboard out, and she was ready to take notes on how the lesson was going.

We were in the middle of discussing making cross-cultural connections with literature. My students always struggle with this concept.

I could feel their frustration. My own frustration was growing. I could sense the administrator’s frustration.

So what did I do?

First of all, I asked them an open-ended question that required that they think deeply for a moment. Why did I do that?

I needed to be mindful myself. I needed a moment to refocus my thoughts and de-stress so that I could tackle the concept from another angle.

What did I do while they thought?

I looked around and focused on my surroundings.

What did I notice?

Of course, a couple of students were off task. As I moved to redirect these students, I noticed a new patch on a student’s backpack.

It was Star Wars, and this girl didn’t like Star Wars! So, I asked her about it.

Her dad made her go watch the new Star Wars movie. She was so interested in it that she went home and watched the whole series!

Her dad bought her the patch the next day! She had made a connection with her dad through Star Wars!

How did this help me? I was able to use this girl’s weekend experience to teach the concept?

The end result?

A great comment on my evaluation from the administrator.

Seriously, my student’s grasped a concept they struggled with because I practiced mindfulness.

Being in the moment allowed me to be creative.

Also, it helped me remove distractions. I forgot all about the two students having a conversation. Incidentally, they forgot all about their conversation when I began mine about the patch.

Finally, with all the distractions removed and the stress decreased, I could focus better.

Basically, a minute of mindfulness saved my lesson!

Slows The Pace

Have you ever looked up at the clock at the sound of the dismissal bell and wondered where the time has gone?

Of course, you have.

The school day is fast paced. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it.

Be honest-

How often do you wait to even go to the bathroom because there’s no time?

All of this fast paced action wears you out.Mindfulness slows down the pace

Yes, there’re ways to streamline the process and make teaching easier (Read some of my other posts for tips on that like where to find great lesson plans that save time for free!).

But, what if you could slow down the pace in the midst of all of that action?

Practicing a few minutes of mindfulness does that for you!

In less than 10 minutes, you can take a moment for yourself, refocus your thoughts, create distance from your situation, and think rationally and objectionably.

Isn’t all of that worth the 10 minutes?

What if there was a way to do it in 7 minutes? Find out how at the end of this post.

How often have you rushed through your lunch to squeeze out 10 more minutes to grade more papers?

Wouldn’t be more effective to use that time for yourself?

Think about it-

You’d be refreshed to take on the rest of your day. In addition, you’d put whatever happened in the earlier part of the day behind you.

Also, you would slow the pace down so that you can enjoy the rest of your day.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

I’ve already said it- teaching is stressful. It’s true.

Yet, you don’t have to feel the effects of that stress.

By using mindfulness to focus on the present, you remove the pressures of the past and the future.

Whatever has happened in the past can be a hindrance to you if you let it.

That’s the key. You have to choose to let go of the past so that you can move past it.

I learned that lesson from The Lion King. You know what I’m talking about? When Timon and Pumba are telling Simba that he has to put “his behind in his past.”

I know, they got it backward, yet it’s true.

You need to put your past behind you.

Whatever happened yesterday is done. Little Johnny acted up yesterday, and this is today.

Not only are you not living in yesterday, you’re not living in tomorrow.

It does no good to obsess over future test scores. That only makes you anxious.

Instead, enjoy the present by being mindful and watch the stress and anxiety melt away.

Mindfulness Eliminates Stress

With mindfulness, there’s no second guessing.

There’s no what could’ve been or what happens next.

Matter of fact, there’s only what is happening now.

And there’s freedom in that.

Mindfulness and Teachers Were Made for Each Other

If there’s ever a profession that needs to practice mindfulness, it’s teaching.

There’s so many things that can go wrong.

You have so much responsibility.

The stress level is through the roof.

Yet, mindfulness will help you lower that stress, slow down the pace, improve your performance, and react positively with others.

To find out how to practice mindfulness in only 7 minutes, read my 7 Minute Mindfulness Review (Yes, it’s found on my other website livingwithvigor.com). It’s guaranteed to help you achieve mindfulness in only 7 minutes.

If you have a comment or question, leave me a comment. You know teachers, we love to share what works.

Share this post socially using the Social share buttons if you enjoyed it and want others to enjoy it, as well.

Most of all, remember that teaching is a great privilege and not a burden.

Watch Out Teacher Summer Vacation Here I Come- So Little Time So Much To Do

Yes! It’s summer- a teacher’s favorite season. You’ve worked hard the whole school year and have earned the time off. And, there’s so many things you want to do, but only so much time. Before you know it, it’ll be time for school to start again. So, what do you say about summer vacation? Watch out teacher summer vacation, here I come. And, these are the ways I can best use my summer break as a teacher.

Watch Out Teacher Summer Vacation

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, I recommend products and services I’ve used or know well and may receive a commission if you purchase them, too (at no additional cost to you).

Relax

Honestly, you can use some down time. The most stressful times of the school year for a teacher is the beginning and end of the year (along with all the time in between).

Seriously, think about it, all of those end of the year activities like testing, finalizing grades, end of the year committee meetings, and getting students ready to move to the next grade wear you out. Plus, there’s more after school events for you to attend like band concerts, awards banquets, and graduations.

Relax on Your Teacher Summer Vacation

If the end of the year wasn’t hectic enough, you’ve been going at it long before the end of the year. You’ve been going at a stressful pace since August.

So, it’s okay to take the first couple of weeks of summer vacation and relax. If you don’t, you could find yourself at risk for teacher burnout.

Take in a movie. Read a book. Even better, listen to an audio book while soaking in a hot bath.

Let your mind wander for a bit. Practice meditation.

Click here to discover how 7 minutes of meditation a day can help you relax and improve your life (Yes, this an affiliate link).

Even more shocking, laze around and watch Netflix.

When was the last time you actually spend a day doing nothing?

I’m not saying make a habit of it. Just take a few days to decompress. You’re body, mind, and spirit will thank you.

It’s not being selfish. In fact, it’s necessary. You need to relax, or you’ll regret it later.

Start a Hobby

Once you’ve relaxed a bit, you can now focus on doing something with your time. Teacher summer break is a great time to start a hobby.

Maybe there’s something that you’ve wanted to learn to do. Your teacher summer vacation is a great time to learn how to do it.

For example, maybe you’ve wanted to take up photography or scrapbooking. There are great resources where you can learn a hobby.

Check out The world’s most comprehensive video instruction course for photography at LearnandMaster.com! (Yes, this is an affiliate link)

Once you’ve picked one up, you’ve got plenty of time during the summer to pursue it.

Start a Hobby for Summer

Hobbies are good for stress management. Also, hobbies stimulate the brain. Thus, you’re provided a challenge that is positive and forces you to think in new ways.

In addition, a new hobby provides you with socialization opportunities. You can find various forums or social network groups through which you can communicate with other people who share your hobby. Ultimately, a hobby give you something to talk about with others.

Start Exercising

Let’s face it. Starting an exercise routine is hard to do in the middle of the year. First of all, you can come up with all kinds of excuses. For example, it’s hard to find the time. Or, you don’t have the energy when school is out.

No matter the excuse, it’s hard to start exercising in the middle of the school year.

So, why not start during the summer? You’ve got plenty of time. Even more, you can figure out the best time to squeeze an exercise program that will work for you when school is in.

Plus, you can get into a routine that will be hard to fight once school starts. In addition, you’ll be in better shape once school starts.

Then, all you have to do is keep up the habit once school starts. Sure, you’ll have to find the time, and keep yourself motivated. But, it’s easier once you’ve established the habit during your summer break.

And, you don’t have to spend too much time doing it. You can get in shape with exercising under 30 minutes a day.

Click here to find out how (Yes, this is an affiliate link).

Go Somewhere

Another thing you should do with your summer vacation is going somewhere After all, summer vacation is vacation.

Besides, you’ve been stuck inside most of the time during the school year. You need to experience the outdoors.

Therefore, you should take a trip. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Get outdoors and see things you can’t see in your classroom.

If you can’t afford a big trip, take a day trip. Find something near you that you can do and afford.

Go to a lake or river. Visit a national landmark or a state park.

Go somewhere for summer vacation

In other words, get outside. Enjoy the fresh air. Experience the freedom of doing something during the day other than being in a classroom.

Make a memory and take it back to school with you.

Get A Head Start on Next Year

If you’re like most teachers( with a type A personality), you could do all the above and still have time left over.

So, what do you do with the rest of your summer? You can get a head start on planning for the next year.

Now, you don’t have to kill yourself doing it. Do as little or as much as you like. Any head start is better than no head start.

Personally, I like to plan the first grading period. If I get that out of the way, then that frees up a large chunk of my planning time.

As a result, I can use that time to grade papers and plan the next grading period.

Over time, I’ve freed up more time and get more done during the schoolday. I can go home earlier. Also, my evenings are mine again.

Additionally, my instruction is better and my students perform better because I have a solid plan in place. Even better, my stress level is reduced because I don’t have to rush to get things done.

Ultimately, I have a better year because I took two weeks out of my summer vacation to plan ahead.

It’s Your Summer Vacation- Do What You Want

You’ve worked hard all year. You’ve earned this vacation. Enjoy it.

That’s the most important thing. You need the time to de-stress and decompress.

So, do what you want to do. Do what you like and enjoy your summer. Work will start back up sooner than you think.

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