Self-Care for Instructional Coaches

by Stephanie, March 06, 2020
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the idea of self-care these days. Whether it is the long winter days, the midst of flu season or just a good-old-case of too much work, March can seem to loom ahead with no break in sight. I’ve had a busy schedule working with my graduate students, my literacy coaching groups and the schools that I partner with and I keep returning to one very important idea: We must take better care of ourselves.

As educators, we are constantly looking out for our students. As coaches, we are constantly looking out for our teachers AND their students. Add a busy family life on top of a busy school life and you can have a potentially exhausted and overwhelmed leader. I’ve been researching more into the idea of self-care and what it really is and I had a true lightbulb moment when I was listening to Alissa McDonald’s Teacher Hustle podcast on this verytopic. Her guest, Dawn Pensack of the Calm and Resilient Teacher, made a very important distinction between self-care and self-indulgence, terms many of us easily confuse.

Many of us believe that self-indulgence is actually self-care: treating ourselves to a manicure, escaping for a weekend getaway (I wish!), heading out for a glass of wine with friends or hiding away in a coffee shop for a few moments of peace. And while these things might brighten our spirits, they actually do not make the current reality of our lives any better. They simply help us escape it. But when we come back home with beautiful toes, our laundry is still sitting there, our schedules are too busy and the stress of living is still front and center.

Self-care, on the other hand, are those practices that actually help us change our current reality or at least better cope with, rather than escape, it. You know, things like taking deep breaths, eating well, tinkering with our daily schedule to give us breathing room, exercising and enjoying small moments. These actions can change the way we feel and act in our actual lives, rather than removing ourselves from them and hoping things will magically change.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A little self-indulgence can go a long way, and paired with self-care strategies, you can not only return from the salon with beautiful toes, you can walk into your home calmly with a few deep breaths, too. =)

I’ve found a few resources along the way that I think you’ll find helpful too. The Mindful Calendars from Action for Happiness offer small, daily tips to practice true self-care around a monthly theme. You might print and post one where you can see it or use this template I created to make yourown that suits your needs.

Elena Augilar has an incredible companion site to her book,Onward, that is filled with ideas for cultivating resilience in leaders. The current theme is ‘play and create’, something we can all use a bit more of in our lives.

I’ll leave you with my favorite webcast: The Science of Happiness from the Greater Good Science Center. You’ll find inspiration, helpful tips and a whole lot of resources to support your work and daily living.

So, now it’s your turn. How do you practice self-care to support your coaching and daily living?

If you love this post, you might like to read over 70 more of my best coaching tools, hacks and ideas in my Coaching Sketchnote Book. I’ve compiled all of my favorites and given you the tools and resources you need to try them out in your own work. Take a look!

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