Contrary to the common belief, teaching is not an easy profession. It requires a lot of physical and mental stamina. The pressures of teaching can take a toll on the health of teachers who often put their own health on the backburner while juggling individual responsibilities as a teacher, parent, spouse or a son/daughter.
On the occasion of Teachers Day, here are our top tips for all teachers to keep going and remain strong, healthy and happy.
1. Care for your voice
Your voice is your most important asset. As teachers, you are more prone to voice related problems.
· Prepare for taking a class or a long lecture by doing vocal warm-ups.
· Drink plenty of water. This not only is the healthiest drink to keep you refreshed and energetic but also lubricates your vocal cords by producing enough mucus.
· Avoid clearing your throat often. Each time you clear your throat your vocal cords are slammed together. This often becomes a habit. Which can lead to wear and tear of your vocal cords. Break the habit. Instead, take a sip of water or swallow the collected secretions.
· Use nonverbal cues like a whistle, bell or hand clapping to gain the attention of your students. Do not talk too loudly. If possible, use a mike, especially in a noisy environment.
· Rest your voice often during the day.
2. Care for your back
Your profession often demands standing and sitting for long hours. A good posture, with weight control and regular exercise will keep your spine strong and stable and prevent back pain, neck pain and spinal problems.
· Maintain correct posture while you sit or stand.
· Stand up straight and tall with your stomach tucked in and shoulders relaxed.
· Sit back in your chair with feet flat on the ground. Ensure your lower back is supported while sitting.
· Think before you lift. If you feel the load is heavy always get help. Lift heavy objects by bending your knees (never your back) and lift using your leg muscles keeping the object close to you. Push heavy object instead of pulling them.
· If you need to sit or stand for long, always take a break at least every hour and stretch.
3. Avoid eye strain using 20-20-20 rule
As teachers, you will often end up doing intense near work involving reading, writing or working in front of a screen for long periods of time. Using digital screens reduces the no of times you blink your eyes. This puts a tremendous strain on your eyes.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look away at a distance of at least 20 feet for at least 20 seconds.
4. Wash your hands often with soap and water
This simple action which is often overlooked can protect you from many illnesses. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. It will prevent germs from entering your body. It reduces your risk of falling sick with coughs and colds, flu, H1N1 or stomach infections. Hand washing is called the ‘do-it- yourself’ vaccine. So, practice handwashing and encourage all your students to do the same.
5. Invest in yourself
At AddressHealth, we often come across teachers who seek medical consultation for weakness, giddiness and tiredness. The stress of modern lifestyle spares nobody. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression are on the rise.
Remember the flight attendant’s instructions on an airplane? “Put on your oxygen masks first before helping others”. To be able to be deliver the best to your students invest in yourself.
· Take time out for a hobby.
· Meditate. Learn good breathing techniques.
· Make healthy eating and exercise a priority.
· Enjoy time with your family and friends.
· Get enough sleep and get up refreshed every morning.