December 28, 2017

6 habits of a healthy teacher

Our days as teachers can be so hectic and overwhelming that we sometimes come home and realize we neglected ourselves all day. We are so busy taking care of our little ones that we forget about our own health and this can quickly lead to a burnout. Here are 6 habits you can start now to have a healthy year. Begin to find ways to embed these tips into your daily routine and each day, you will come home feeling more energized and much less stressed.

1. Plan your exercise days and write them in your agenda

I like to aim for 4 days during the week and 1 day on the weekend for exercising. I pack my gym bag for Monday-Thursday and set an alarm on my phone to signal when I need to leave school. When it's in your agenda or on your phone, it quickly becomes a habit and you kick it in high gear to make sure your room is prepped by the time that alarm rings. I also made it a habit to work out on Saturday mornings and that gives me a rest day on Sundays that I look forward to. It takes a little while to get into this weekly routine, but STICK WITH IT because it's never easy at first. Find fitness classes that are offered after school or find a buddy you can go with to push you. If you don't have a gym near you or don't want to start one just yet, download the free Nike Training Club app for workouts you can do at home! Plan exercise time into your weekdays and it will become a habit. 

2. Meal prep on Sundays for your entire week

This always sounded like the most difficult thing to do on a Sunday for me, but I promise it only takes me about 2-3 hours. It is SO worth a few hours on the weekend when I come home during the week and realize I don't have to cook anything! Save some recipes on Pinterest that are super easy and make two of them for the week. I usually make the same chicken and rice dish for all my lunches and then a ground turkey recipe for my dinners. Purchasing an inexpensive food scale to weigh out 4oz. of meat is extremely smart to make sure you aren't overeating. You will be so relieved on Sunday night when you have each meal ready to go for the week!

3. Bring a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE

During our hectic days, we often forget to drink water until our break times and that has left me feeling drained and usually with a headache by the end of the day. Chances are if you're bloated after school or throughout the week, you aren't getting enough water. I use a 27oz water bottle and make sure I fill it up at least 3 times during the day (even more if drinking coffee). Yes, you'll most likely be calling a coworker to cover your class for a potty break, but there's no shame in that! Before heading out to the library, playground, lunch, etc... I make sure that water bottle is with me so I can meet my goal of 72-128oz of water a day. 

4. Pack a healthy after-school snack 

Another thing many teachers forget to do is to eat on a regular schedule. I eat a snack every 2-3 hours to keep my energy up and there are great benefits to eating smaller meals throughout the day. I've made the mistake of not packing an after-school snack once or twice, and I found myself coming home and raiding my pantry like a hangry monster. Save yourself from overeating by packing snacks or little meals throughout the day such as almonds, yogurt and granola, rice cakes with peanut butter, or a protein bar. This will give you enough energy to fight that post-school fatigue and get you to the gym!

5. Find group fitness classes you and your teacher friends can take together

Many gyms, parks, and even breweries offer fitness classes during the week and on weekends for you to get your sweat on in a fun way. Keep your eyes peeled for any yoga or cycling events you could bring your friends to as a way to hold yourself accountable. My coworkers love going to yoga at our local brewery and they even include a drink and t-shirt after your session! Just google search "group fitness events in ____(your city)" and mark them in your agenda or make a Facebook event with your friends. It's nice to break up your fitness routine with these fun classes and you'll have a blast with your buddies. 

6. Use an app to track your calories for one weekday and one weekend 

I use MyFitnessPal or MyNetDiary and they are both free apps that allow you to scan your food or type it in to track your calories. I used this for one day of eating at the beginning of the school year to see what a typical school day's worth of calories looked like for me. Once I knew my daily caloric intake and macros during the week, I eat just about the same meals each day so I was confident I was on track each day. I also frequently track a day out of the weekend to make sure I'm not going completely off the rails and splurging on too much. These apps are amazing at opening your eyes to all the sugar, sodium, and fat hiding in each snack you consume. 

Some of these may seem difficult at first, but I promise if you continue to do them each day, they will quickly become a habit you won't even think twice about. It will be embedded into your daily routine and you'll notice less bloating, less stress, and more energy for those kiddos. I hope these little tips help for a healthy school year meeting the goals you have for yourself. You rock, fit teachers!

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