You spend your days caring for your students. Maybe you get home and have to care for your own kiddos, or your partner…or your needy puggle puppy who won’t stop shredding all the toilet paper rolls. The point is, as a teacher, caring for others can quickly consume all your time. Before you know it, there is no time for you and things start to feel out of whack. Self-care is so important for maintaining your inner balance, but let’s be honest — if you don’t actively prioritize it, it’s not going to happen. So what is an uber-busy giver to do?
Schedule a weekly date night with yourself. Seriously.
Taking yourself out on a date can take you away from some of the day-to-day stresses. It can help you reconnect with who you are at your core, what makes you tick, your goals, and your needs. And when you rekindle your self-love, you’ll find you have more to give your students because you won’t be trying to pour from an empty vase.
Benefits of dating yourself
Dating yourself allows you to:
- Prepare physically and emotionally so that you can be more present
- Disrupt thought-patterns and enable you to see something from a new angle
- Be your own companion
- Do more for you
- Grow your self-confidence
- Give more quality time to others
Date yourself basics
Get yourself ready for your night. Plan ahead with a few simple tips.
- Schedule the time and stick to it. You’ve heard the advice before, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Plan your date like you plan any other important event. Don’t pencil it in; put it in Sharpie.
- Fit your mood. There’s nothing wrong with changing plans. But keep in mind, pushing yourself into activity can improve your attitude. That bad mood may just slip away as you find yourself enjoying your time alone.
- Look your best — whatever that means to you. Wear your favorite shade of lipstick and those high-heeled boots you just got or the comfiest jeans you own and no makeup at all. But be true to you. And be proud to show yourself off.
- Have a mantra. If you are the type of person that is uncomfortable doing things on your own, or you’re feeling guilty about time for yourself, find a saying to reinforce your choice. Try “to help others, I have to help myself.” Repeat it whenever you are feeling uncomfortable or second-guessing your date.
- Plan to get out of the house. It’s tempting to binge-watch and eat the whole bag of Doritos. But these sorts of activities take your time and leave you feeling empty, gross about your food choices, and neglectful of the chores that need to get done. Get-out-of-the-house kinds of activities can be the exact motivation you need to nurture your most important relationship — the one with yourself.
Make a date
Taking yourself out on a date doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Finding the right date for you is about exploring the interests that you have and enjoying them with yourself.
Here are some ideas:
- Visit the local library or bookstore. Get a book and coffee, sit in a chair, and read something new.
- Take a long walk or hike in the woods. Enjoy the fresh air and exercise while admiring the spectacular view.
- Take a class. Learn some culinary skills. Take pottery or painting. Craft an original story in a writing group.
- Go to Build-a-Bear. Find your perfect new cuddly companion and stuff it full.
- Go picking. Go to a local farm where you can pick your own. Fill your basket, and don’t forget to eat a few right from the source.
- Go on a photographic exploration. See the world through the tiny lens to see just how big the world really is.
- Check out the city’s kind of nature. Visit the zoo, the aquarium, or a local nursery.
- Eat under the stars. Make a picnic, grab a blanket, and do some stargazing.
Once you get used to making this a part of your routine, you’ll find yourself looking forward to these dates like the new season of Big Little Lies. Don’t compromise on this you time. Take yourself out, enjoy your own company, and get to know the person that matters most — you. Everyone in your life will reap the benefits!