Sharpened pencils, fresh school supplies, and setting up a new classroom. The beginning of the year is such a fun and exciting time. However, it doesn’t take long for the coughing, runny noses, and tissues galore. I think teachers single handedly keep Kleenex in business.
On a serious note though, I always considered myself to be a healthy person with a decent immune system until I started working with children. Being a teacher takes your immunity to a whole different level. In this blog post, I’m going to give you tips on how to be a healthy teacher and products you can buy to add to your healthy teacher toolkit.
I’ll get right down to it – Elderberry Gummy Vitamins continue to save my life year after year. They are packed with antioxidants and help fight cold and flu symptoms.
Get Your Greens
In my opinion, eating healthy is the most important tip on this list. You need to be eating foods that build your immune system. Start by having healthy lunches at work or implementing vegetables at every meal – cover them in
One of my favorite (and the most delicious) way that I make sure I’m receiving all my necessary nutrients is with Opti-Greens. Opti-Greens is probably the only “green drink” that tastes good and has high-quality vegetables in it. In the morning, I always drink a shake with almond milk, Opti-Greens, and Strawberry protein powder. That way I’m starting the day fueling my body.
I also like to keep healthy teacher snacks in my desk for when I’m hungry. Everything we ingest is either helping or hurting, so a few of my favorite healthy snacks are Skinny Pop and Kind Bars. If you have a fridge at work, I recommend keeping it filled with string cheese, greek yogurt, fruit, avocados (with rice cakes), and other nutritious snacks.
One thing that has helped me during the school year is meal prepping easy healthy teacher lunches. If you’re new to meal prepping, you can check out this blog post on how to get started.
Here are also a few of my favorite places I find healthy recipes for busy lifestyles:
Move your Body
I know what many of you are thinking. “I don’t have time to workout.” I’m not here to convince you to go to the gym. However, I would suggest moving your body for at least 15-20 minutes. Let me tell you why –
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
- Exercise causes a change in antibodies & white blood cells. Your white blood cells are the cells that primarily fight disease and sickness.
- The rise in body temperature after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing and help the body fight infection better.
- Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.
Healthy Teacher Workouts (Quick and Free)
- Blogilates – Free on Youtube. Short Pilates and yoga workouts
- Tara Stiles – Free Yoga
- Walk at Home – Free Walking Videos
- Make your Own Workout – Buy a set of dumbbells & make your own workout (my personal fav)
- Kayla Itsines – Short circuit workouts (not a free workout – but there are many free sample workouts on Pinterest)
According to Hopkins Medicine and the University of Queensland, having a positive attitude can improve your immune system. Conversely, negative emotions can weaken your immune system. It’s important to take care of yourself mentally throughout the year. A mentally happy teacher is the best teacher. Check out this blog post on teacher self-care.
Are you taking enough time for yourself? Are you spending enough time outside? When was the last time you did something fun? It’s important to ask these questions throughout the year. If you are someone that is 100% going to neglect yourself, then set calendar reminders once a month to check-in with how you’re feeling.
I cultivate a positive mindset at home and in my classroom. Everyone’s strategy for having a positive mindset may look different. I personally enjoy meditation, positive affirmations, prayer, and using a gratitude journal.
If you follow my Instagram, I often post Instagram Story templates that ask you to list what you are grateful for that day. Making a gratitude list can be as simple as you want it to be – the ultimate goal is to make you feel more upbeat and positive.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get quality sleep are more likely to get sick. During sleep, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines as well as infection-fighting antibodies. Without getting too heavy into the science, your body uses these antibodies and proteins to fight off infections. If we are depriving our body of sleep, our production of these resources are significantly reduced.
Currently, the Calm app is allowing teachers to receive their product for free. Calm is the #1 app for meditation and SLEEP. You can listen to sleep stories, meditations, or various relaxing sounds (I personally love listening to thunderstorms while I’m sleeping). It took me about a week to receive my free code. Since then, I listen to the app on and off throughout the week and notice a significant change in the quality of my sleep on the nights I use the app.
Make Hygiene a Top Priority
This step sounds like an obvious one, but there are a few things I suggest reviewing with your students.
- Make sure they understand how to properly cover a cough or sneeze. I teach upper elementary students and people would be shocked at how many of them don’t cover anything at all when they sneeze. Just a quick review on how to properly cover using their elbow area will make a huge difference.
- Ask students to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they eat. Make it someone’s job to go around with hand sanitizer.
- Change as soon as you get home. We carry a lot of germs on our clothing and the longer we sit in them we’re increasing our exposure time. We also don’t want to track germs throughout our house for the rest of our family to get ahold of.
- Open your windows – This may seem counterintuitive, but when you come into the classroom open your windows and let some fresh air in.
Ashley at Pencils and Playgrounds is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.