Staff Self Care Challenge

As an educator, it can be easy to forget about self care.

I see my coworkers support our students with all they have to give, day in and day out. It’s just what we do. However, without established and sustainable self-care practices, educators run the risk of health issues, compassion fatigue and burnout, all of which can compromise their ability to continue to provide quality education.

As a school occupational therapist, I am passionate about mindfulness and movement. I work throughout the day to incorporate these skills into my instruction. However, this month, I decided to take the lead with a co-worker and encourage our staff to use these strategies for their own self care. The old adage is true, “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”. Here is how I rolled out our Staff Self Care Challenge.

Brainstorm Simple Self Care Strategies

I started by brainstorming simple self care strategies that staff could use. Then, each day staff found notes in their mailboxes encouraging self care moments such as stretches, guided imagery activities, and quick little reminders to stop, breathe, and move mindfully in the moment. I began to notice that staff were taking time for self care, on purpose. Download and print this PDF for our ideas.

teacher wellness

Encourage Participation

It can be challenging to develop new habits. To encourage participation, I built in an incentive plan. Once participants had completed an activity, they would put their name into a drawing. Five winners received a goodie bag from SBell Wellness and a Move Mindfully® Card Deck. Our grand prize winner won a massage; thanks to a generous donation from the community. The prospect of fabulous prizes definitely increased enthusiasm!

wellness prizes

Lasting Changes

Since our mindfulness month, I can still hear teachers and staff chatting about mindfulness and encouraging each other to take these little moments. This fun activity is a simple way to introduce and encourage self care strategies. I notice that we, as a staff, are beginning to, “Pay attention on purpose to the here and now with kindness and curiosity, so we can choose our response.”

What have you tried to promote staff wellness? What’s worked? Leave a comment!

staff wellness winners

“Everything you need, your courage, your strength, compassion, and love; everything you need is already within you.”

Written by,

Shauna Bell, MOT, OTR/L 

shauna bell

Shauna is a school occupational therapist at District 47 in Crystal Lake Il. She is also a Yoga Calm® certified youth yoga instructor, natural solutions educator with  dōTERRA and is currently studying for certification as an Integrative Health Coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  

4 replies
  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    These are really great ideas – looking forward to using them when I am working in a school again.
    I used to use 5 minutes of some of our staff meetings to introduce self-care ideas in hopes that they would feel more comfortable doing them and encourage each other.

  2. Jenny Wood
    Jenny Wood says:

    Absolutely true about the need for self-care for teachers! Bravo for introducing it and inspiring your staff to recognize their true worthiness and importance! Great modeling for students to see this happening…added bonus!


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