Wednesday, February 26, 2020

5 morning habits every teacher should do for a better day

     A couple years ago I went on a journey to discover myself again.  I was going through a major life change and I had lost track of who I was, what made me happy, what I was passionate about, and what I wanted out of life.  While on this journey I read many books on self improvement, law of attraction, and teaching philosophies.  One book that really stood out was the Success Principals by Jack Canfield.  I started to incorporate some of his principals into my morning routine on school days and I have seen a drastic change.  I am happier at work, my days are filled with more positivity, and even my students are being affected, or perhaps I just see them in a better way.  Here are my five morning habits that I feel every teacher should be doing to improve their day and create a more positive environment.

Habit #1: Exercise

      I'm not going to explain the importance of exercising.  We all know that a healthier life revolves around exercise and healthy eating.  There is a big benefit to having exercise be the first thing you do in the morning.  Before breakfast, before you scroll through your phone, before you do anything else, you should start your day with a little bit of exercise.  I myself don't have much time in the mornings but I do start my day off with exercising for 20-25 minutes.  Sometimes its 15 minutes on the elliptical followed by 5 minutes of yoga and stretching.  Other times its 5 minutes on the elliptical with 10 minutes of weights and then some yoga.  The point is to get your body moving and stretching.  I find that my mind starts to wake up and ideas of what I need to do start popping up in my head

Habit #2: Mindfulness / Meditation

       Another habit that I have found really beneficial is to have some quiet alone time with myself.  I started with 5 minutes and have worked up to 10 minutes.  I take time to close my eyes, breath, and just focus on the present moment.   When thoughts pop in my head I acknowledge them without judgement and then go back to my breathing.   Some days it is easier than others to turn my brain off and quiet my head.  However, even on days when my mind won't be quiet, I feel extra charged and ready to tackle my day when I do this.

Habit #3: Drink Water

       Hydration is really important in more ways than one.  Sometimes when I'm feeling tired it has more to do with being dehydrated than anything else.  So one habit that I have started doing is to make sure that I drink at least 12 oz of water before I leave my house.  Most of the time I have my glass of water while I'm making breakfast or right after my workout.   To me drinking that glass of water has a way of energizing me and waking me up just as much as my coffee does.

Habit #4: Daily Affirmations

      Affirmations are a way of stating what you want and visualizing it.  Think about how you want your day to go.  Is there an activity you want the students to do without any problems?  Are you being visited by an administrator?  Are there a few challenging students that you would like to see a difference in?  The key to affirmations is that they need to start with "I am" and have an emotion and an action attached to them.  A few examples are: I am happily noticing my students are all actively engaged in todays note taking activity, I am so happy and grateful now that (insert student or students names) are using their energy to participate and help others around them, I am joyfully watching my students tackle a difficult critical thinking task and are excited when they figure it out.  You could use the same affirmation every day or change it up.  After you write it out you will want to spend 30 seconds to a minute reading it out loud and then taking the time to feel what you have written and visualize what it would look like.

Habit #5: Being Grateful

      According to Jack Canfield author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Success Principles,  "gratitude is the most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life".  Being in a state of gratitude is the fastest way to change your mindset and set the tone for a positive day.  It is hard to be frustrated, annoyed, or discouraged when you are in a place of gratitude.  Try and look for something to be grateful for in all parts of your day.  Look back on what happened in your classroom yesterday.  What happened that you are grateful for?  Sometimes this will be easy but at other times this might be more difficult.  Remember though that even the students that challenge us can be a blessing.  When a student talks back and is defiant, you could be grateful for the chance to practice patients.  When a few students didn't do their homework you could be grateful for the 85% that did do their homework and took this learning opportunity.  Gratitude helps us focus on the positives.  I think that in teaching we spend too much time focusing on the negatives.  The few students that misbehave or don't do their work.  Instead we should be grateful for all of our students that are doing what we are asking, that are participating, that are following the rules and expectations.  So find three things that you are grateful for from the day before and write them down in a gratitude journal or say them out loud.  Then, and this might seem weird at first, I will want you to send positive, happy thoughts to one or two students or other faculty members that make your day more challenging.  These students and faculty are the ones most in need of positive loving energy.  So just send them positive, loving, happy thoughts and think about them for a few seconds.

I challenge you to try these five habits out for a month and see if they make a difference.  If they don't work as well for you as they did for me well you won't be worse off than before the challenge.  However, what if they do work.  What if they do improve the quality of how you feel and bring you more positivity in your life.  You have nothing to lose but lots to gain.  I would love to hear from you if you did take on the challenge.  Let me know how it goes or if you have found another habit I should add to my morning routine that you have found to make a huge positive impact in your life.

***********************************   Special Note *********************************

Join me in March on instagram as I go through these five habits every school day live.  Let's do this together and support each other.

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