There’s no doubt this year has been more challenging than any other. And as a result, it’s more important that teachers find ways to support their mental health.

If you need some ideas, here’s what has helped me:

  • Drawing boundaries: Teachers get asked to do a lot, in both their personal and professional lives. I’ve practiced saying “no” and not feeling guilty about it. I can’t do everything! Saying no to some requests has allowed me to better focus on what matters most.
  • Staying active: I move my body every day. Some sort of exercise helps me to feel stronger, both physically and mentally.
  • Trusting in our teams: I have great teams around me. We support each other when one is struggling. And we bounce ideas off each other. Social isolation has negative consequences for our well-being.
  • Taking notes for future action: When I have an experience or struggle that needs to be changed, I take notes. I can’t always advocate or address that change immediately and notes help me come back to that issue at a later date. Whether it’s something at the school or state level, having the details written down help when I have the bandwidth to address change.

Sara Wyffels, NBCT, is the 2021 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year and is currently teaching Spanish within the Chandler Unified School District.