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Listener Episode 1: Responding to That Negativity

Description: This week, Dr. Boogren will be doing something a bit different. Explore responses to negative feedback on your self-care practices, inspired by some listener feedback.

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The Self-Care for Educators team cares about the content-accessibility for all educators. If you have trouble accessing the audio for the podcast, the transcription has been provided below.

Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode 34 of Self-Care for Educators. I am your host, Tina Boogren. Back in episode 31, you might recall that I had asked listeners if they had any questions or wonderings or recommendations for future episodes. And, I got a couple of really, really incredible suggestions and questions. And so, I'm going to sprinkle those throughout the next few podcast episodes starting today. So, the one that I want to tackle today is what ... Let me just kind of read to you what this listener sent, and then I'm just going to ... I'm going to give my best response, and then ask you guys to jump in. How would you respond to this?

So I don't ... I don't think this listener is the only one facing this. So, it says, As I work with teachers and discuss self-care, I sometimes have someone who brings up kind of snarkily the notion that quote "I'd have time for self care if the district provided it." And I'm also seeing articles and memes kind of mocking self-care these days and that are getting shared pretty heavily on social media. So, this listener wanted to know how I would respond or do respond to that negativity.

Oh, I know. So, this to me ... I have a couple of thoughts on this. So number one, this to me goes back to there's really those two different types of self-care. So, my first gut response if someone says this to me is ... I always say, Oh, tell me more about this. I'm so curious as to how you define self-care, because oftentimes when they make a comment like this, to me, that's the idea of thinking of self-care in terms of the good, the feel-good self-care, right? The vacations, and the face masks, and the chocolate, and the wine tasting ... And so, yeah, agreed. It doesn't feel like we have time for that, especially right now. And, I hate that because listen ... I'm all for that kind of self-care, right? For me ... So, this is what I would say back, in my most sincere way, is the self-care that I talk about is a very different kind of self-care. It's why I've started kind of pushing towards this new definition of calling this professional wellness.

Because, the thinking behind what I mean by self-care is the truest definition of self-care: caring for ourselves. See, my thinking is that, you know, the feel-good self-care, the vacations, and the face masks, that kind of stuff ... Staying late, staying up late, watching Netflix and eating dessert first, all of that stuff ... I am here for all of that. And, there is a place for that without a doubt. But what I always remind folks is, is that's not the self-care that's going to help you feel better at work tomorrow. That's not the self-care that's going to make you jump out of bed tomorrow morning. I mean, sure. After a vacation, don't get me wrong, but that those are vacations especially now, right? ... Is too few and far between. We can't wait and put self-care off until the summer, or until the pandemic is completely over, or until we retire, or a kids grow up, or any of that ... So, instead of this, when I talk about professional wellness, I mean, making choices in service of ourselves so that we can show up at work and be amazing for our students. That's the deal as servants, right? Is ... as you know, this job that requires so much of us, particularly right now ... We have got to be our best selves, and so that's kind of the question of, So what do you need to be your best self? For most of us, it's the basics. It's getting enough sleep, getting a good night's sleep. It's making sure that we're drinking the stupid water. It's making sure that we're eating food that helps us feel good instead of the crazy rushing crash and up and down of spiked blood sugar and/or not eating lunch or not eating breakfast. And then, being ravenous by the time we get home, it's those things. It's making sure that we're taking some deep breaths and making sure that we schedule time on our calendar to move our bodies, whether that's going for a walk, an AAW, or it's getting our sweat on or doing a yoga stretching routine free from YouTube. It's making sure that we're reaching out to our family and our friends and those connections and the importance of relationships. It's making sure that we're talking kindly to ourselves approaching our work and our days with self-compassion. It's making time for the things that we love to do, whether that's reading whatever your creative expression is. It's making sure that we are engaging in those acts of kindness and gratitude.

That to me is self-care. That's the truest form of self-care. The losing the guilt on making time for ourselves, and that .... That is absolutely required. And, when things are hard, here's the other piece that I always remind ourselves of is that when things are really, really hard, and we're busy, and we're overwhelmed, and we have too much to do, that's when we feel like I don't have time for self-care, because we're defining self-care as the treats, right? So no, when things are really hard, we probably don't have time to take the vacation, or engage in the wine tasting class, or, you know, take a leisurely evening to do the face mask or whatever it is that appeals to us. Instead in those times where we are overwhelmed and frustrated and on the verge of burnout, that's when we need the truest form of self-care. That's when we need to gently put ourselves to bed. That's when we need to be so careful about how we're talking to ourselves. Maybe that's when we need to reach out and ask for help. So, I don't know if that is helpful in terms of how ... It's a really kind of long response to, to the negative. We all have them, and here's the other thing that I remember is the people that have the negative feelings towards self-care, to me, that's a signal that they're struggling ... that they're really struggling. And so, it's opening the door really to maybe have a different conversation to, to really tell that person, I hear you. I get it. I'd love to talk to you more about this, and that in part of that conversation, it's holding space to, again, truly ask how they are defining self-care, and if we might be able to together figure out what self-care means in this season and this particular season, because yeah, I can't wait until self-care feels a little bit different when we get to the other side of this or in the summer or whenever that is. But, the reality for right now is what are we doing to take care of ourselves now?

I go back to the quote that I have ... It's on the main page for this podcast. To me, self-care is about designing lives that we don't need to escape from. It's about setting up our every single day so that we feel good every single day. Deep breath. Right? I hope that helps. All right. So, that was the deep dive this week. Here's what I do love so much ... Because, the brilliance again is with you all. So, I'd love for you to jump over into the Facebook page and kind of share ... What is your response when you get a reaction such as, such as this listener. Do you have a different response? What else can we add to our kind of toolbelt in having something ready when we hear statements like this? Or push back on me if there's something you want to know more about, or something you're not quite sure of, or you have a different definition of anything that I talked about today.

As always, a huge thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to Marzano Resources and Solution Tree for this incredible job that I get to do. And above all, thank you to you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. So grateful for each and every one of you ... Have an amazing week.

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