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Rest and Recharge: A Self-Care Guide for Teachers

Winding down after a long day of teaching can be no small task. From lesson planning and energetic instruction to fielding questions and tackling each day’s unique challenges, teachers naturally dedicate so much of themselves both mentally and physically. Disconnecting from the commotion of a busy classroom might feel nearly impossible, especially considering the job doesn’t stop when educators leave school each day.

While we all have our own favorite ways to unwind and reduce stress, it also can be beneficial to explore new paths toward effective self-care. We’ve gathered some restful ideas for you to consider the next time you’re looking to relax and take time for yourself.


1. Exploring Nature

When we asked some of our National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees how they like to relax and recharge, many told us they turn to the outdoors and explore nature. Inductee Jaap Haartsen, inventor of Bluetooth® wireless technology, said, “The best way for me to relax is to take long walks with my wife, preferably in nature. I live in the countryside, and I enjoy the environment every day.”

If you enjoy the calming effects of nature, consider exploring the outdoors in new ways. Have you ever heard of forest bathing? This natural form of therapy is rooted in the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, referring to the immersion of oneself in the atmosphere of the forest. How about taking your next meal, coffee break or snack outside? Having a picnic on a bench or blanket, or even in your own backyard, can be a tranquil way to enjoy food and nature together. Even committing to regular walks around your neighborhood or local park can help you find peace and inspiration.


2. Exploring Recipes

For many people, the kitchen can be a great place to get creative and boost their energy through expression with varied flavors, ingredients, dishes and treats.

Inductee Margaret Wu considers her kitchen inspiring, and she views it much like she views her lab: as a place where she can make discoveries. In an interview with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, she explained, “I have to admit, I don’t follow the recipe or chemical process. I always like to change something because I always thought maybe I can do better.”

Start with a simple online search to come up with interesting new recipes to try or experiment by adding something new to your favorite go-to recipe. You might stumble upon something delicious and find that exploring in the kitchen can offer great relaxation.


3. Exploring Scents

If you find certain fragrances calming or comforting, you might consider aromatherapy, or using essential oils for relaxation. While some claims of health benefits associated with essential oils have little scientific backing, it is true that scents can help you relax.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “The scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.” Lavender is among the most relaxing scents, citrus scents like lemon oil can boost your mood and peppermint oil has been found to help with tension headaches when it’s applied topically. You can find some tips on finding and safely using quality essential oils here.


4. Exploring Music

Like scents, sounds can stimulate your brain, improve your mood and help you unwind. There is value in both playing and listening to music, whether you’re revisiting familiar favorites or exploring songs that are new to you.

According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, music can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your memory, help with pain management, and make your exercise routines more enjoyable and effective. It also can help you tap into your creativity.

The next time you turn on a playlist, tune in to how you respond to certain artists or songs. When you really focus on how you react to certain voices, tones and melodies, you can begin to identify what tunes you find soothing, refreshing or inspiring.

Ultimately, relaxing and recharging come from finding things you enjoy doing. When you’re feeling drained or like you might need a reset, identifying activities that help to nourish yourself and making a conscious effort to do them will create a grounding sense of balance in your life.


We’ll See You This Summer!

We hope these ideas sparked new and inspiring ways to rest, relax and recharge. We can’t wait to see you at Camp Invention®!

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