Happiness is the lucky penny
…because teachers, it helps you work with other people and contribute to the society in a positive manner. It also affects your physical health. Research shows a link between an upbeat mental state and physical signs of good health. These include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and healthy weight.
Begin by a promise to yourself – to invest in yourself, your health and happiness
A classroom is where social change begins, and teachers have been responsible for shaping a nation of good citizens. “Always respect the teacher who even taught you a single word,” said ancient India’s great philosopher and teacher Chanakya. However, what teachers are teaching now is more than mere words or academic lessons. A teacher in the present world of education that has seen and been an agent of a huge shift from classroom teaching to online teaching, has become a mentor and a social nurturer of sorts for students struggling to adjust to this new normal. While giving their best to students, it’s all the more important for teachers to take care of themselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Check these tips by experts to stay healthy and happy – during the pandemic and also after it’s over.
A healthy diet is non-negotiable
“Start the day with a healthy breakfast to sustain release of energy through the day (with back-to-back online classes). Hydration is very important as drinking liquids prevent dizziness and headaches,” advises nutritionist Ritika Samaddar. She also suggests eating healthy foods like fruits, nuts, and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed) as well as complex carbs like oats, sprouts, cheela. Meals should be a combination of good carbs and protein such as rice and dal/khichdi or uttapam with sambar. Some nutritious and easy-to-prepare snacks are makhana, bhelpuri, nuts trail, and fruit chaat.
Re-connect with friends and family
Catch up with your family members on video calls and regular phone calls, and make sure to talk to your friends too in your free time. While talking to your near and dear ones, steer clear of unhappy and negative conversations like discussing rising Covid-19 rates, depleting jobs, and so on. Try to talk of fun things like new recipes you have learned or memories that make you happy and peaceful.
What about handling difficult students?
Look at your work from a fresh perspective. Think of innovative ways to engage with students who have so far not responded to your efforts. Don’t judge yourself if the process is taking longer than you intended it to be. To focus on so many students and gauze their behaviour and strengths and weaknesses every hour is not possible. Do your best and believe that your efforts can make a difference. Meet and greet students with optimism and positivity – and your positive energy will have a trickle-down effect on less receptive children too.
Be compassionate to yourself and learn to say No
Prioritise tasks and say ‘no’ to ones that are difficult for you to handle because of the limitations restricted movement has put on people. It is stressful to promise too much at work and not being able to deliver. And don’t beat yourself up for not being able to perform your best all the time. “Teaching is the toughest profession: you are mother/father to 35-40 kids in each class,” opines psychiatrist Dr. Sanjay Chugh. He suggests giving yourself the benefit of doubt in difficult and new situations like the ones we are facing in the Covid era.
Include mood-boosting foods in daily diet
People are complaining of low mood and diminished energy in pandemic time. Teachers have to be positive and energetic in class – so have food that helps in improving your mood on a daily basis.
- Make sure there is no micronutrient deficiency especially of iron and vitamin D
- Reduce intake of caffeine
- Have foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like nuts, seeds, fish, green leafy vegetables
- Probiotics and prebiotics elevate mood – curd, fermented foods (kimchi, veggie pickles), banana, oats, and berries
(By Ritika Samaddar)