Today I’m going to be talking about something important, which is Art Teacher TLC. We can’t be there for the kids if we aren’t there for ourselves first. As we know, teaching consumes a lot of our focus power, energy, and emotions. Some years are harder than others, and some moments in the day are more stressful.
I’m going to dive-in and remind you to take care of you. You can’t be there for your students, or family or furbabies or yourself if you don’t take care of you too. It is like when you’re on the plane and they remind you to put the face mask on yourself before you help others… Right because we can’t help anyone if we’re passed out or whatever. You need to provide YOURSELF with oxygen first because you can’t give oxygen to others if you’re on the floor. You especially cannot be an Art Teacher BOSS if you’re too tired to allow for the awesome habit building and mindset shifts.
We can be SO STRESSED. Sometimes teaching is fun and other times it is completely beyond manageable and overwhelming. Teaching absorbs a lot of our patience, energy, and even our welfare. It is going to be really important that we make sure that we take care of ourselves because when we’re stressed and overworked, we can create ill effects for both our mental and physical health. I always find that when I am stressed out that I get sick a lot easier.
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MAKE SOME ART
I don’t know about you but I ALWAYS feel so much better after a creative session in the studio, whether I’m creating for Ms Artastic or myself. I really do need to get in there and start a new sculpture and work on my paintings though. My own creative expression sometimes goes to the side when I am creating art lessons for kids and it is a bad habit because it is what I am passionate about and it GROUNDS me. Whatever your art is, whether it is doodling in your sketchbook, playing with watercolors, oil paints, collage, or sculpture with clay, find and hour of YOU time and create.
Be sure to find a consistent time in your week where you can have a studio or art making session. I think that we need to use it for our OWN Social Emotional states. We’re doing so much to meet the Social Emotional Learning needs for students that we often forget about our own selves, how we feel, and the traumas that we may have faced, especially post-covid. We spent a year starring at face shields, isolating ourselves, and jumping away from children is not our usual so it wore us down whether we consciously knew it is or not.
More than ever, it is essential that we connect and check in with ourselves. So for your first Art Teacher TLC Action Item, I would LOVE for you to schedule time (preferably weekly if you can) where you are going to block out time, put down the cell phone and hide it, and just make some art.
Any time is a good time to do this or remind ourselves to get back to doing this… but for some Art Teacher TLC an idea or suggestion is that I think we need to visit our “healthy eating goals”. Even if you consider yourself to be a healthy eater, can you do it better? Is there something you could eliminate? Good nutrition can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight and can reduce risk of chronic diseases… and it makes us feel good. Maybe not right away, but you will feel good. I love Mac N’ Cheese, but an hour later after eating an over-filled plate, my stomach immediately disagrees with my decision. I also feel pretty sluggish. Fill your diet with proteins, fiber, calcium, and health carbohydrates (such as ones from vegetables and fruit). Eliminating some of the processed food, fast food, pastas, and starchy foods will do wonders! Less sugar too. Junk food is called junk food for a reason: there is nothing nutritional in it. As well, if our goal is to give ourselves TLC, we have to think of the whole picture. Which is why I am talking about healthy eating. If you are hoping to give your whole body love, you have to consider all parts of it. For me, I try to eat most meals healthy. And then one day a week I usually make something or order out something that is tasty and not healthy. Like pizza. But that is what I do and you need to do you, of course. And this is a suggestion for TLC, so again, you do you. Remember, if you want to fuel your body AND mind, you also have to consider what you’re eating.
If you’re like me and don’t eat meat and struggle to find sources of protein (or if you want to just limit your meat intake because it is expensive… reducing the meat meals cuts down on grocery bills by HUNDREDS), try looking towards replacing the “meat” on your dish with a couple more sides. I’ll be honest, I eat a lot of food and I like eating variety on my plate. So I balance out different types of plant proteins and veggies, like having carrots, quinoa or whole grain rice, and chickpeas or legumes.
-Chia Seeds: (add to oatmeal, cereal, salads, smoothies, baking, soup, or make chia seed pudding. It is also very high in fiber!)
–Pumpkin Seeds: VERY high in protein
–Hemp Seeds: high in protein and your Omegas and they taste nice! I sprinkle them in cereals, smoothies, soups, in sandwiches or wraps (just sprinkle it on the dressing like mustard and it’ll stick. You won’t know it’s there when you eat it). It’s nice on yogurt too!
–Chickpeas: I like to marinate it in lemon, olive oil (a bit) and onions for a chickpea salad. You can make chana masala, or add it to bean salad. You can also easily make Hummus with a food processor (honestly, I didn’t know it was THAT easy to make hummus!). Mmmmm….. hummus… I’m drooling already. Oh yeah… Do you like Pita wraps? Try adding falafels in them instead!!! Chickpeas please!
–Beans: lots of protein, lots of uses!
–Green Beans: Proteins, fiber, and low in calories! Honestly, I have eaten a lot of green beans lately. I eat them greek style, tossed with garlic, steamed… But I grow a lot of green beans in the Summer and I’m still eating the ones I froze last year! So this year, I took all my green beans I grew and I decided to instead PICKLE them! This way I can feel like they’re a completely new snack and I can take them for lunches or eat them as a side. I made some spicy and some not! So if you’re like me and have too many, try this as a new way to eat your green beans.
I’m definitely not saying you should be a vegetarian, but if you have a picky eater in your home that doesn’t like meat or if you’re looking for healthy protein replacements, you can try these. I know people often think “What do you eat?” once you eliminate meat, but honestly… I just eat EVERYTHING but the meat. I just wanted to offer ideas for plant proteins should you want to try this occasionally as a “healthy eating” tactic. Again, this is an idea and I’m not saying you have to do what I say or agree with me… But I live on the West Coast and in B.C. we’re kinda radical and outlawish. Just kidding. Do you and if you want to try this, this is my advice having done it for a decade. Eating meat constantly can have side effects too so even reducing the AMOUNT you eat can better your overall health (and weight) and reduce a lot of disease later in your adult life. As well… It will greatly reduce your grocery bill. And freezer space. Dried lentils cost a few loonies. Unless you don’t have a loonie… then I guess a dollar bill?
I love meditation! I do it for me and often incorporate it into my classroom! It is a great way to transition into creating art in your classroom. You can do complete meditation with music, you can do guided meditation, you can even make an art version and do guided meditation with drawing! Mindful art starts such as meditation music with dim lights and silent sketching can be a WONDERFUL art classroom start: this gives them something to do while they patiently wait for their friends and also gives them the time they need to transition, feel calm, and feel balanced.
But meditation is necessary for you too. Meditation for US, the adults, can reduce stress and control anxiety. It can bring you focus, calm, and inner peace. It can help you center yourself and bring your attention back to the present moment, allowing you to not worry about the future (it hasn’t happened yet) and not worry about the past (it has already happened and therefore we cannot change it).
Action Item: Try meditating daily or weekly. It might be a great way for you to start your morning! 10 minutes of meditation! If you get up 10 minutes earlier, you can add this into your every day. It has been proven that it is beneficial for both your emotional well-being and overall health. You can even keep a journal and record your thoughts, musings, and how you feel after a meditative session.
One way to keep care of yourself during times where you have feelings of stress and a sense of overwhelm is to exercise. I know you have hear this a lot, and if you’re like me you say “yah yah, I’ll exercise” or “I’ll start Monday” but then you never do. Suddenly it has been 3 months and you haven’t even gone on a walk. However, right now, we really NEED to do this. It throws all the stress and anxiety out the door. It will ground and center you.
I find that after a workout session that any thoughts about work or what happened in the day are lost and gone. Sometimes I get fixated on something that happened and I will think about it and relive it over and over. Exercising make all those racing thoughts disappear and really allows me to move on in the day.
One way to get exercise into your day without making a huge production with it is by walking at lunch! If you don’t want to do full workout plans on YouTube or use weight or if you’re short of time, go on a walk at lunch around your school’s neighborhood! I do this as much as I can because it helps me get in steps and helps me feel clear, calm, and energized through the rest of the day!
I’m going to be honest, my exercise habit has not been implemented. I’m on again, off again. All the time. This is partly because I have too much on my plate with being a full-time teacher and Ms Artastic. I am exhausted. Which I know is not an excuse because when I reflect on the day, I realize that, instead of having watched a show on TV, I could have worked out. So, trust me when I say, I get it and I’m saying these things to me as much as to the wider world. This podcast is my reminder to me to continue to work on creating better habits in my own life.
If you feel like you’re short of time with family and stuff or just like, your side gigs like me, then you can always go on walks or runs at lunch. I’ve done both and I feel great. Running sucks the first few days, but after you get over that initial horrible pain, it’s all gain. I honestly thought I was going to throw up when I went on the first run. Walks are also good. I love going for lunch walks and getting fresh air. When I return to the school, that little break made me feel so good and I can approach the afternoon with clarity!
Download Free Art Worksheets for Kids
Click here to download free art worksheets that you can print to allow kids to explore art at home!
BIG KID PASSION HOUR
Yah I mean us. The adults. But “Adult Passion Hour” sounded weird.
I think this is a fun one! Play! Explore your hobby each week to give yourself a little TLC and some escape from everything going on. You could also do a Passion Hour for adults where you explore a passion, hobby, or interest for an hour each week. Set a time and date and do it, 1 hour straight, no cell phone, no interruptions.
You could try setting a timer and hide your phone and get yourself to play for a full hour. Let yourself immerse in making art, crafting, sewing, photography, painting, or research. Whatever makes you happy, DO IT. Do it for 1 hour. Don’t stop at 55 minutes. 1 hour. 1 hour of being YOU.
But… if you happen to get into the FLOW stage in the psychological spectrum… that moment when you don’t even notice time and everything seems to be moving seamlessly… then let it roll my friend!
Find my Art Lessons on the Ms Artastic YouTube Channel!
Finally, if you need some ideas or need to take a break in your classroom or from recording lessons for online instruction, I’ve created artworks on my YouTube Channel! Find the lovely drawings in my YouTube Channel, Ms Artastic!
Thank you for reading my blog post! I am grateful that you did and I appreciate you having took the time to read to the end. Thank you so much. Please write any questions you have in the comments section of this post.
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Kathleen McGiveron (Ms Artastic)
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