Originally published March 29, 2020 by Forbes.
By Robyn D. Shulman
With the sudden change in life that happened overnight, many people are looking for ways to calm their anxiety during the Coronavirus crisis.
Right now, many educators are feeling overwhelmed due to the lack of preparation, tools, and the know-how regarding distance learning. Most, if not all schools were not prepared to take education from the live classroom to Zoom overnight.
Teachers went from seeing their students daily to trying to figure out some sort of distance learning program. They are in the process of learning how to use new video and chat tools, create online curriculums, and find some sense of a new normal as they work with their students.
They are also balancing their own lives at home with their own kids while teaching our children at the same time.
Most effective educators are not only struggling with learning about distance education, but they miss their students. Virtual learning does not have the same impact as in-person education where students and teachers can build life-long and lasting relationships. The emotional toll of being whisked away from the classroom can almost feel like suddenly losing a family member. Teachers wear many hats, and they can feel a significant loss when they don’t see their students daily.
The relationships between students and their teachers are some of the most life-changing bonds in the world. And, for many students, school is a place where children feel safe, get the food they need, and find the support they don't have at home.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Jared Scherz, shares some essential tips for educators during these unprecedented times. Dr. Scherz is a clinical psychologist, author, and consultant who has worked supporting educators for nearly 30 years.
Dr. Scherz runs a wellness clinic in New Jersey that blends live workshops, coaching, and behavioral health. He is also an entrepreneur who believes in supporting educator wellness and organizational health.
Through his company TeacherCoach, they develop educational ecosystems, bringing a new revenue stream into school districts. Through this strategy, schools are the hub of wellness in their community—through blending personal growth and professional development for faculty.
Dr. Scherz uses a blend of humor, compassion, insight, and the Gestalt theory to support the most critical professionals on the planet.
In this article, Dr. Scherz shares some essential tips for teachers during these most unusual times.
Five Pillars of Health
“All threats to our health are thwarted by a strong immune system. Thus, at a time when we spend significant energy on crisis planning, we need to remember self-care.
If we become run-down, our physical depletion can leave us susceptible to illness. Our most significant risk of disease comes from being unable to fight off infections.”
Consider these five ways to boost your chances of staying healthy.
It's critical to get quality rest. Turn your cell phone off before lying in bed and ease into your day before checking your messages. Instead of watching television in bed, spend a few minutes meditating or imagining a past vacation or a favorite spot that brings you peace and will help you fall asleep easier. Deep and consistent sleep is what allows the body to restore and prepare for new challenges.
Avoid Stress when Possible
As caregivers and organizational leaders, remember you are not responsible for solving all problems. Your job is to create processes for others to help take ownership of sharing the burden. Let go of what you can't control and make sure to attend to process over outcome. Stress can use up essential nutrients we need to stay healthy.
Search for Inner-Peace
During a crisis, we need to make time for peace. Peace comes from feeling grounded, connected to our own experiences, others, and nature. Appreciate the little things such as the beautiful noise of nature. These small strategies can help to get out of our minds and into our bodies.
Ensuring a healthy balance between giving and receiving is paramount to maintaining our energy stores. If we are giving too much, with a low return on investment, it's time to consider how we might alter the way we help or change our perception of what we get from helping.
Meaningful contact—even virtual, can fuel our sense of well-being.
Try to have Fun
Laughter produces happiness, triggering neurotransmitters generation manufactured in our gut. Laughter also aids in digestion. The more joy we find in our every day lives, the less hard our body has to work, and the better able we can fight infection.
TeacherCoach is dedicated to supporting school communities during this crisis. Our ongoing effort to provide valued resources for students, educators, and families means unique opportunities for personal and professional support. You can register on the host platform to access their event calendar. All participation is free.