Radical Wellness: The Self-Care Nobody Is Talking About

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Monday, April 15, 2024

Radical Wellness: The Self-Care Nobody Is Talking About

This post is written by Kim Strobel. She has spent 22 years in education as a former 4th-grade teacher, literacy coordinator, curriculum director, keynote speaker, and educational consultant. Kim is the owner of Strobel Education. She is a highly sought-after consultant, speaker, and happiness coach who works with K-12 teachers and schools throughout the country.

As a teacher, you may feel invisible as you work each day to help your students become successful. But just like your students, you, too, deserve to live a life that feels good to you a lot of the time. We all deserve to feel happy as teachers, even if the vocation of teaching makes happiness feel hard sometimes. We deserve to have space and ease as we follow our professional path—and as we live out the equally important other parts of our lives.

Being successful in education comes only when we nourish our emotional well-being. Only when we begin to heal and nurture our soul can we start to show up as our best selves for our students. Incorporating science, strategies, and powerful tools, my book, Teach Happy: Small Steps to Big Joy will help you learn how to reach and capture more happiness in your work and life journey.

I’d like to share one helpful tip from the book that has made a big difference in my own life. It’s a term I use called Radical Wellness, which is very different than what’s been touted as self-care. Let me explain.

We are constantly hearing sound bites about self-care that are not at all what I consider it to be. “Take five deep breaths. Pour yourself a hot bath. Rub some lavender oil on your wrist. Walk one lap around the school and come back in.”

The biggest problem with self-care is that it’s marketed as something that’s going to help people when, at best, it’s going to make them feel good for a few minutes. It won’t make your job less hard come Monday. 

People talk about self-care like it will solve all their problems, but it won’t. This is particularly troubling for educators because they really are struggling with heavy workloads and mental health issues, and the media or well-intentioned people are telling them that when they learn to “take care of themselves,” they will get their lives back. 

Self-care promoted in this way causes guilt because teachers are told this is one more thing they’re supposed to figure out, but not being told how to find the time for it. These superficial self-care tactics avoid the real issues teachers are facing, making teachers feel even more behind. The self-care script needs to be flipped, and that’s why I wrote the book Teach Happy: Small Steps to Big Joy

Moving toward Radical Wellness

The overall problem with “self-care” is that the typically recommended practices do not get at the heart of the issues we face. True self-care, or radical wellness, is about making actual changes to your life that are going to improve your health, create good habits, and manage your emotions. 

When you implement radical wellness, even though at first it might be hard, you are setting yourself up for success by pushing yourself to grow. For teachers, this might look like waking up early to go to the gym, saying no to volunteer duties, investing in therapy, or devoting a small part of your evenings to meditating.

5 Steps to Incorporating Radical Wellness

Radical wellness is going to look different for everyone, but there are still concrete steps we can all take to work toward it.

Radical wellness is radical because it means saying no so we can say yes; it means aligning our actions with our values, even when we have to disappoint someone. It requires us to make time for ourselves which is a difficult thing to do and might include some tough conversations. But the most important step is changing our mindsets to believe that we are worthy of being taken care of—and that by taking care of ourselves, we are investing in our future, our family’s future, and our students’ futures. 

It’s time to revolutionize Teaching Happy. You have a right to reclaim your life both in and out of this very noble profession.

If you want to join in on the conversation about the Teach Happy Revolution or learn more tips on getting your happy back in a profession that can mean too much, you can grab my book on Amazon! 

I would love to connect with you! 

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