Kick Back? Not Yet… Fighting the Exhaustion with Probiotics.

Kickin’ it with Karen: Beyond Sauerkraut
Is anybody else out there a teacher? We are just a week and a half out from winter break and I feel like I have been hit by a bus. Exhausted much? Holy Hallelujah! These are they days when waking up – even if I have gotten 9 hours of sleep – feels like I’m waking from the grave.

I think most professionals would say, “What are you doing for self-care?” – something I think teachers regularly forget about. We are so busy caring for our students, making sure they are meeting the standards and making progress, as well as making sure they are “OK” in and out of school. Our students face a myriad of challenges and with that comes the trauma and the drama.  Everything that happens to them out there in their world often comes back with them to school. When we get wrapped up in their story, we can experience secondary trauma. This takes an emotional toll that if we don’t pay attention to it, this can end up having real consequences for us. Thank goodness we are edging closer to that much needed winter break!

So, what are you doing for self-care to make it successfully and healthfully to the finish line (winter break)?

Here are some tips on what NOT to do:

  1. Don’t try to drink away the stress. This will only exacerbate it. Alcohol in limited quantities can have a positive effect, but too much and it will compound the effects of the stress (Alcohol Alert).
  2. Don’t perseverate on the problems at work. To think incessantly about the problems in the classroom or in a student’s life may cause you to lose sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, depression, and lower our immune system. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (Healthline).
  3. Don’t overwhelm yourself by assigning too much to your students in these coming days before break. This will not only stress you out (remember you have to grade all of that), it will overwhelm and stress your students out too. 

Here are some tips on what TO do:

  1. Say no. As teacher’s we tend to take on the world. When someone asks for a favor, or we are asked to take on one more lunch duty, or sub for someone on our prep period, all of these things drain our already finite energy reserves. Most of us are running on fumes this time of year. Save your energy for something you love to do.
  2. Take a long relaxing bath or shower before bed and get some good sleep! Taking a  warm bath or shower before bed induces sleep. Just make sure to leave time to cool down. Then, snuggle up and drift off to a beautiful restful slumber (Abrams).
  3. Have FUN! I always say if whatever you do isn’t fun, you shouldn’t be doing it. That doesn’t mean instant gratification, it means that at the end of the time you put into doing a thing you are happy and satisfied. Here is a link to “Fun Activities to Improve Your Mood” .
  4. Do light exercise. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you are exhausted. But if you pair a good sleep and light exercise, you are more likely to have more energy (MIND). These two actually play off of one another. If you get good exercise, you will sleep better; if you sleep better, you will have more energy for exercise and your daily routines. 
  5. Eat well, especially foods rich in probiotics!!  This of course is my favorite tip. Dr. Eva Selhub, a contributing editor for Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School says, when people include in probiotics their diet, “their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve”.  Hey – this means SAUERKRAUT, KVASS, KOMBUCHA and KEFIR and all the things I make.  That’s what we are about here! Health and well-being is my number one concern and gut health has so much to do with that. Keeping the gut healthy may be key in reducing stress, anxiety and depression – all things that go hand in hand with teaching.
Are you a teacher? What do you do around this time of year to keep yourself healthy? I’d like to hear about it. Comment below on your strategies to fend off the exhaustion.
Once again, thanks for coming back! And as always, I’d like to grow my readership. If you enjoyed this blog post, add a comment and share it with a friend. 😀 Please visit, subscribe and like my YouTube channel Kickin’ it with Karen: Beyond Sauerkraut to find more things I’ve made.

Sources:
Abrams, Abigail. “How a Night Shower Improves Your Sleep.” Time, Time, 21 Feb. 2017, time.com/4665489/hot-shower-before-bed/.

“Fun Activities to Help Improve Your Mood.” Healthy WA, Department of Health, Government of West Australia, healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Fun-activities-to-help-improve-your-mood.

Peterson, Sarah. “Secondary Traumatic Stress.” The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Center for Mental Health Services, 22 Oct. 2018, http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-informed-care/secondary-traumatic-stress.

Pietrango, Anne, and Stephanie Watson. “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 5 June 2017, http://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1.

Ryan, Ken. How to: Physical Activity and Sport: How to Improve Your Wellbeing through Physical Activity and Sport. Mind, 2015.

Selhub, Eva. “Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, 5 Apr. 2018, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626.

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1 thought on “Kick Back? Not Yet… Fighting the Exhaustion with Probiotics.

  1. Great blog! In Japan, people bathe at night. I remember getting some of the best sleep ever after a hot bath and tucking myself into my futon, which was literally a thick mattress on the floor. There was no central heating in my small one-room place so i slept with the space heater off for safety. The cool air (often in the 30s combined by clean skin was great (I also slept sometimes on an electric mattress pad) Bottom line, sleep is important!

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