Monday, March 11, 2013

Needing Some Down Time Soon?

About this time of the school year, you are beginning to feel fatigued, ready for spring and in need of a break. Most states conduct their state assessments in the spring in March/April, so from the beginning of second semester until spring break, is a great period of time for heavy duty instruction without a lot of holiday breaks. So to make it until spring break here are some ideas that can keep you fully charged:

1. Get plenty of sleep. Adults need 7-9 hours a sleep per night. With our jobs so busy throughout the day and then family commitments when we get home from school, many times teachers are burning the midnight oil to get done everything they have to do. Sleep deprived people have a greater risk for high blood pressure and also raises your risk for obesity, diabetes, depression and directly affects areas of the brain that deal with mood and concentration. Try to establish a routine each night as you are preparing for bed, such as taking a warm bath, reading, and avoid coffee, eating and alcohol before bed.

2. Exercise!! Even 20 minutes a day of exercise can be beneficial. Whether you exercise in the morning, take a walk at lunch or go to the gym after work, try to get exercise daily. Short bursts of exercise promote oxygen to the brain as well as are beneficial for your heart. Grab a friend to exercise with or get a group to exercise after school to help you stay the course.

3. De-stress. Daily exercise can help you de-stress. Take a time out at your desk and stretch, reach up and side to side and then down to your feet. Stand up in a doorway and push your arms into the doorway to stretch and release your chest muscles and back muscles. Can you say "Om?" Yoga poses can help you de-stress and offers you healing benefits. Meditation for just 60 seconds of focused quiet can reduce anxiety and nervousness. Start by slowly relaxing muscle groups in your body, take a few deep breaths, focus your attention on your breathing, if your thoughts wander, refocus on your breathing (this takes practice with our running thoughts!) then bring your awareness back to your body, wiggle your toes or fingers and then back to your work! Keep a gratitude journal, rather than focusing on the things that stress us out, focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for! Taking a warm bath with lavender or chamomile can also help de-stress after a long day.

4. Eat properly. Breakfast is critical to get your day started, so if you have to get up a few minutes earlier, do so to eat breakfast. Your body needs fuel in the morning, and without breakfast you are vulnerable to cravings and other bad eating choices. Eating well throughout the day can help promote energy- fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and water for hydration are critical for a well rounded diet.

Hold on, spring break is just around the corner!! Hoping you can get away someplace warm, sunny and with NO SNOW!