4 easy ways for K-12 teachers to practice digital self-care

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Self-care means automating your digital boundaries

Digital devices allow us to be easily connected 24/7 to our work emails, calendars and text messages. Setting numerical boundaries is an expression of self-care.

According to a 2021 survey on teleworkers According to messaging app maker Superhuman, more than 3 in 5 remote workers say they are more likely to immediately respond to an email from their boss or team (63%) than to a text or a DM from friends or family (37%).

Your choices define what others think is OK or not. When you reply to an email at 9 p.m., you’re letting that person know you’re available. And while that may be true occasionally, it can quickly become a pattern or an expectation.

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Take care of yourself by setting a daily auto-reply on your emails from the time you leave for the day until you return to work. You can set the same limits for work-related text messages. What message is so important, professionally, that it can’t be sent back while you’re checking in? Turn off your phone’s notifications, or at least set them to notify you in the hours you prefer to be available.

Self-care means being intentional about your use of social media

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison literally takes us away from the satisfaction of our own life and instead provides us with a yardstick of what we consider to be more desirable.

Social media is that thief! It provides us with a daily reel of people we don’t know (or we know and don’t like) to measure against.

If you find yourself scrolling aimlessly, you may need to take a social media sabbatical. What will you really miss if you delete social media apps from your device?

While there is plenty of inspiration to be found on various social platforms, social media can be a factor in your mental health. You may see improvement after taking a break and evaluating what you need to see against what you measure up to. Unfollow accounts that make you feel like you can’t keep up, or that push you to do more, accomplish more, or worse, be more.

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Self-care means being responsible for your own joy

On several occasions, I have had the opportunity to see in-person presentations featuring therapist Kelly Jameson. One of my favorite takeaways from his presentations is the practice of creating and regularly reviewing a “joy list.” Jameson was asking those of us in the audience to write down all the things that brought us joy.

You can do the same. Ask yourself, what makes you feel complete? What makes you smile? Jameson recommends creating your joy list when you’re feeling good because when you’re feeling down, it’s harder to think about all the things that bring you joy.

Your joy list can highlight a myriad of things, including feeling productive, taking a walk in the sun, snuggling up with a puppy, or reading for fun. The key is to make these “joys” realistic and accessible. Know where your joy list is. I keep mine in Google Keep so it’s available everywhere.

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