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How to Prepare for Your Best Year Yet (Self-Care Edition)

As I walk in Target (for no reason at all) to mindlessly scroll the candles, I am stopped in my tracks. I can’t believe what I’m seeing! The colorful, seasonal display for Back to school is set up. All I can do is shake my head at the reality that summer is ending (particularly here in the South). 
We know that summer is never long enough! The time has already come for some teachers to return to work for preplanning. After a relaxing and/or busy summer, the reality of our jobs has started to creep up again. We are reminded of the endless demands, back-to-school paperwork, pre-planning meetings, new initiatives, and so on. 
Before you get caught up in the demands of a new school year, I want you to remind you of the importance of your self-care. The burden of being an educator does not get easier. Knowing this, it is our own responsibility to prepare for a new year as best as we can. The Educator’s Room and the Teacher Self-Care Conference are committed to the overall wellness of teachers. We need healthy teachers who are committed to the field of education. 
Here are some tips to prepare for your best year yet: 
Take inventory of last year
I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough!! Take a journal and write down what went well and what didn’t go well. What could be improved? Be completely honest with yourself here. 
Create a personal self-care plan 
You are in charge of your own life!! You must prioritize your wellness. You can include some of the below tips in your plan. 
Create personal and professional goals
Consider the start of the school year as your own personal new year! Set some goals that you want to accomplish in your year. Set a few personal and professional goals to keep you motivated and on track. Your personal goals can include health, family, social, etc. Do you want to strive to eat healthy lunches at least four days a week? Do you want to save an additional $50 each month? 
Professionally, do you want to become more proficient in teaching writing? What about effectively teaching guided reading? Set your goals and place them somewhere in your classroom so you can stay inspired. 
Identify a mentor
This is important! We must realize that we are always lifelong learners. Identifying a mentor you trust can keep you on track to achieving your goals and being a master teacher. 
Create pockets of sunshine
Teaching is hard. We wear several hats and are expected to basically save the world. This can weigh one down. It is critical to create pockets of sunshine- things to look forward to. Maybe you have lunch with a favorite co-worker a few times a week. Maybe you’re going to Wednesday wine-down with your girls this evening. Whatever you enjoy, make time for it!! 
We hope these tips are helpful and this is your best year yet! What other tips would you add? 

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