Making a Teacher Self-Care Kit
Emergency Kit for All Teacher Emergencies
It is the time of year when you see all the memes of skeletons crawling and you know teachers are just trying to make it to Winter Break...alive. I listen year after year and hear teachers say, "we have four weeks to break this year." I laugh it off until I then realize that four weeks is longer than any professional development session, any mandated testing session, and any back-to-school training that is out there. This four weeks is real. As I am getting over my second round of being sick due to stress and being buried under papers, I came across a great post about a "self-care kit" on the Dani Dearest blog. She even has a great checklist for making a kit. I simply adapted it to my teacher needs.
Teacher Self-Kit: All Critical Items in One Place That Could Save a Teacher in Distress
Why Do You Need a Kit?
I had all of my items for my teacher self-care kit around my house. There was a sense of power though when I put them all together. Dani recommends putting them in some sort of container. I am keeping them on my desk in front of my nose when I am working. Here is a picture of all of my items:
Here is what is on my list in no particular order:
- Christmas Tree-Any holiday tradition that puts a smile on your face. Grading by the Christmas Tree just seems so much better. I love looking at the ornaments that we collect each year.
- Movie Tickets- Take time to go spend some time with loved ones. P.S. Wonder Woman in Justice League was amazing.
- Wooden Notebook for Blogging- I started Writing Mindset for a reason. Simply, it makes me happy. I need to have my blogging notebook nearby. I make these in my Etsy Shop. This one with the alien eyes is my absolute favorite.
- Leuchtturm1917 Yellow Notebook- Yellow makes me happy. This notebook is the holy grail for bullet journaling.
- Cozy Blanket-Enough said.
- Immune Booster Tablets with Vitamin C-Also, enough said.
- Hand Lotion-I love scent memories. I got this lotion from our hotel in the Bahamas. It reminds me of the vacation, and it has jasmine and lavender in it, so it is calming.
- Invisibobble Hair Ties-These are slowly taking over my world. I don't get the hair bump from a ponytail, and these days I don't have time for my hair to be in my face.
- Neutrogena Face Wipes-After a long day, I don't have time to take off my makeup the way I should. I get to be lazy with these, and my skin still feels soft and ready to go.
- A Good Book- I have read and am rereading Ta-Nehisi Coates's book. I love books that make you think. I also am working some fiction favorites into the rotation.
- Favorite Pens-All of the journaling, writing, and scribbling requires the right pen to write those thoughts down. I love InkJoy.
- Lip Gloss-Fenty Lip Gloss is my ultimate favorite. It stays on..through 3 hours of teaching and doesn't wear off in a weird way. This is my indulgent purchase.
- Face Spray-I need to set my makeup, a pick-me-up, and a breath of fresh air...all in the same spray. This rose face spray smells good and makes my retinol cream soak in like a dream. I spray this before and after makeup. On rough days, I pack it in my back to give me a little extra pep throughout working hours.
- Candle-I like when the house smells amazing. I prefer a good old fashioned french vanilla candle like this one, but any candle that smells like something is cooking works, too.
- Earbuds-Listening to music while working is a must at this time of year.
- Markers-Decorating my journals is a creative outlet for work and reflection. I love these 6 dollar markers from Target almost as much as I love more expensive sets from craft stores.
What's On the List?
Simple, you should follow these 6 steps for creating a kit with items from your own house.
10 Ideas for Each Step
Step 1: Something For Your Mind
Ideas: 1.) Bullet Journal 2.) Book of Poetry 3.) Music/Music Subscription 4.) Netflix Binge 5.) New Earbuds 6.) Watch TedTalks 7.) Listen to a Podcast 8.) Converse with Someone Who Makes You Think 9.) Write a Poem 10.) Meditate (There are TONS of apps)
Step 2: Something For Your Body
Ideas: 1.) Sign-Up for a New Work Out Class 2.)New Multi-Vitamin 3.) Lavender Epsom Salts 4.) New Yoga Mat (Or Old One) 5.) Dumbbells 6.) Green Tea 7.) Healthy Snacks 8.) Visit Eye Doctor 9.) Massage 10.) Chiropractic Adjustment 11.) Drink Water 12.) Sleep 13.) Stretch 14.) Go for a Walk
Step 3: Something For Your Soul
Ideas: 1.) Positive Affirmation Notes 2.) Coloring Book Pages 3.) Pictures of Family/Friends 4.) Call a Friend/Make a Friend Catch-Up Date 5.) Journal a Gratitude List 6.) Look at Old Lesson Plans-It Reminds You How Far You Have Come 7.) Student Thank-Yous 8.) Write a Letter to Someone 9.) Write Someone a Thank-You Note 10.) Surprise Significant Other with Dinner
Step 4: Something to Read
Ideas: Fiction or Non-Fiction-It's really up to you! 1.) Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last 2.) Black Panther Graphic Novel 3.) 1984 by George Orwell, Book of Poems, etc. This is just what is on my reading night stand right now. Here are the best 10 books that I have read lately:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Then go see the movie!)
- The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
- In The Best Interest of Students by Kelly Gallagher (Needed ONE Work-Type Book)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver
- Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Step 5: Something to Indulge
Ideas: 1.) New Lip Gloss or Mascara 2.) Nails 3.) Hair Appointment 4.) New Teacher Bag 5.) New Bag or Purse in General 6.) Cell Phone Case 7.) Fancy Beverage on the Weekend 8.) Fancy Coffees/Fancy Espresso Latte 9.) New Coffee Cup 10.) Blanket Scarf to Keep Warm 11.) Face Mask 12.) Take a Sick/Mental Health Day 13.) Day Trip
Step 6: Something Practical
Ideas: 1.) New Flair Pens 2.) Sticky Notes 3.) Highlighters 4.) New Pencil Pouch 5.) Markers 6.) Bulletin Board and/or Push Pins 7.) Binder Clips 8.) Folders for Grading 9.) Notebook or Journal 10.) New Planner
This kit probably will look differently in the spring and in the summer. Use whatever makes you happy and is a resource to you right now. In this moment. What is important is that you feel you have a list of resources for when you don't want to set that alarm for the next day, or you can't bear to look at the stack of papers you brought home in your teacher bag. This list is not about going out and spending money. It is about trying to use the things we surround ourselves with on a day-to-day basis to make us happy.
Writing Mindset Reflection: What items are critical to help you with self-care? How can you use a self-care kit throughout the year?