Self-Care: A Non-Negotiable for a Balanced Life – Lessons Learned from Real-Life Experiences

Self-Care: A Non-Negotiable for a Balanced Life - Lessons Learned from Real-Life Experiences

It’s that time of year, when everyone in education is feeling the grind! We can see the forest through the trees, but we’re not quite there yet, and summer is just a reach away. We’re exhausted, proud, happy, sad and ready to take some time for ourselves to relax, reenergize and reinvigorate. It’s time for us to focus on our own heath and wellness.

As a society, we’re constantly juggling responsibilities, and it’s easy to overlook the importance of self-care. Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary for maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It”s actually the key to leading a balanced and fulfilling life.

Personally, I’ve discovered that self-care is essential for maintaining my own well-being. I choose to replenish my energies by riding my bike, sitting by the beach and the docks, and practicing mindfulness through meditation. Whenever my family is looking for me, they know the first places to check are my favorite spots by the water! There’s something about watching the waves that soothes the soul.

Help yourself first! Think about this: on airplanes during an emergency, the flight attendants always instruct passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before assisting others, even children. Why? Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to help anyone else. This concept, often referred to as the “oxygen mask theory,” perfectly illustrates the importance of self-care.

Self-care encompasses a wide range of activities that nurture our mind, body, and soul. It can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, going for a walk in nature or even just around the block, spending quality time with loved ones, or dancing in the kitchen to your favorite music. Whatever form it takes, self-care is about making time for ourselves, prioritizing our needs, and replenishing our energy reserves.

When we teach children the importance of self-care at a young age, they grow into adults who respect their well-being. This is crucial for the future and the well-being of our society as a whole. By instilling these values early on, we empower future generations to prioritize self-care and lead balanced lives. What a beautiful gift to give!

Furthermore, practicing self-care enables us to serve others more effectively. When we’re physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, we have more energy, patience, and compassion to offer to those in need. Whether it’s supporting a friend through a difficult time, excelling at work, or contributing to our communities, self-care equips us with the resilience and strength we need to make a positive impact.

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but think about how often we do things that make us feel not good. We do it all the time! We tell ourselves we can’t do something or have something because it’s too risky, or we’re too inexperienced. We stay in jobs we hate. We dread things we’ve agreed to, just because we feel like we have to. Take things off your plate. Be comfortable with saying no or declining an invitation. My point is, become more aware of what actually makes you feel good, satisfied and truly happy –  and go do that!

Let’s discuss an action plan. Try one new thing that feels good for your soul, and do it once a week. Build it up to several times a week. Then, add in another self-care selection and do it once a week. Just think, if we add a variety of things to our daily repertoire that make us happy, calm, and feeling well-adjusted, we can literally transform our lives. It’s that easy.

Self-care is a beautiful and important part of leading a healthy life. Let’s embrace the concept of the oxygen mask theory, prioritize our own well-being, and take actionable steps to incorporate self-care into our daily lives. Encourage and support others in doing the same. By doing this, we can create a ripple effect of well-being that positively impacts ourselves, our communities, and future generations.

Why are you still sitting there? Get going!

Dr. Lori Koerner

Dr. Lori Koerner has been in the field of education for over three decades. She spent the first 26 years of her career as an elementary school teacher, having taught every grade. She is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, and served as an adjunct professor for special education at several universities in New York.

Dr. Koerner is currently an Assistant Superintendent in a public school district on Long Island in New York. Her research has been centered on educating the whole child; that is, developing students’ social competencies, emotional well-being, and physical fitness through recess and play so that they are best equipped to meet their maximum academic potential.

Dr. Koerner is a mom of four, and a bold child advocate. She has written numerous articles for national magazines regarding paradigm shifts necessary for 21st century learning. Dr. Koerner has presented across the country regarding innovation in education.

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