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Put your mask on first before assisting others.
We've all heard that reminder every time we've sat on an airplane. This week, I've also heard it a number of times in relation to teaching and learning. I first heard Clare Landrigan say it during a virtual meeting of a group of reading specialists talking about how to support literacy learners through online learning. A day or two later, I read the same message in a Twitter post from The Educator Collaborative. As educators, many of us think of others first, but in order to be at our best we need to make sure we take care of our own well-being, too.
Teacher self-care and my own self-care has been on my mind during this time of the coronavirus pandemic which has impacted both our personal lives and our teaching lives. I've been thinking a lot about what I can do to feel less stressed and overwhelmed. I'm starting to make a list of self-care strategies that I can put into practice. Breath. Read. Exercise. Think positively. Take a bath. Listen to eighties music. These strategies can only help to calm my mind and bring me some happiness.
Happiness has been a theme for me this past school year. At the beginning of the school year, a personal/medical issue prompted me to consider my happiness and how I could find more of it. I've been thinking about happiness ever since and even more so now. I've been intrigued by a course taught at Yale University on well-being, Psychology and the Good Life, by Professor Laurie Santos since I read about it a few years ago. A version of this course, Yale's most popular, The Science of Well-Being, is available for free on Coursera (you can read about it in this article). Since my days are now spent almost entirely at home and I have oodles of time, I enrolled in the course. I completed the first week of the course yesterday and I already feel like I have gotten some good insight into the concept of happiness and the practices that contribute to well-being. For my own self-care, I think this course is just what I need right now. If anyone else happens to find it interesting and decides to enroll, let me know because I'd love to extend learning even further by chatting with others about it.
Some Books I've Read Recently Related to Happiness and Well-Being
Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones) by Nataly Kogan
The Rabbit Effect: Living Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness by Kelli Harding
Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness by Katie Egan Cunningham