Balancing Act: Prioritising Self-Care for Teaching Success

Teaching is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding professions, driven by a deep desire to shape young minds and make a positive impact. However, amidst the demands of the classroom, it’s easy for educators to neglect their well-being. In this article, we delve into the importance of self-care for teachers and offer practical strategies to help achieve a balance between nurturing oneself and nurturing others.

Nurturing Yourself to Better Nurture Others

You became a teacher because you want to make a difference; because you love children; because you enjoy seeing the expression on a child’s face when he or she finally understands a new concept. It is that passion that makes you a great teacher – the same passion that can also lead to burnout. Avoiding burnout is one reason self-care is important. You cannot care for others if you do not take care of yourself. Another reason self-care is important is to enable you to be an effective teacher. If you are tired, either emotionally or physically, you cannot do your job well. Finally, and possibly most important, self-care is important so you can model good balance and healthy boundaries to your students and co-workers.

Here are several strategies to help you care for yourself more effectively:

Set Healthy Boundaries

Say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Recognize your limits, and do what is most important. Trying to be a “super-teacher” has consequences (mostly negative ones). No, you cannot leap the tall buildings in a single bound!

Take Breaks Often!

You will be amazed at what a five-minute break will do. Whether it’s spent just relaxing your brain and body, eating a healthy snack, or meditating, you will be rejuvenated so the work you do is more efficient. Set a goal to take a five-minute break at least every hour.


Research shows that exercise can help increase energy, improve concentration, and decrease stress and depression. It also allows you to focus on yourself and take care of your body. Both are important for reducing burnout.

Know Your Threshold for Stress

Recognize the first signs of stress. These may include increased heart rate, change in appetite, fatigue and irritability. Pay attention to what triggers stress for you and either avoid those situations or learn relaxation techniques so you can manage your stress effectively. Modelling these skills for your students will teach them how they can handle their own stress. Focused breathing and deep muscle relaxation have been proven to work.

Discover Three Stress-Relief Activities

Do these things consistently. Planning ahead of time to prevent stress or becoming aware of what you can do when you become stressed will help decrease burn-out.

Start Your Day on a Positive Note

Begin your day by doing something that lifts you up and makes you feel good. It may be enjoying quiet time in meditation or prayer, thinking about the positive things that are in store for you that day, taking a walk or conversing with your spouse about positive things. What you do first can set the tone for how you manage your entire day.

In teaching, self-care is essential for success. By taking care of themselves, educators not only stay healthy but also become better at helping students grow. Setting boundaries, taking breaks, staying active, and starting each day positively help teachers create a balanced and sustainable approach to their work, ensuring both personal well-being and effective teaching.

About the Author:


Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Accountancy & Law, SEGi College Sarawak

Mosses Ak Enjob brings a wealth of experience and diversity to his role at SEGi College Sarawak. Originally from Bintulu, Sarawak, he received his primary education at CUPS Labang and completed secondary education at Bintulu Government Secondary School in 1974. Continuing his academic pursuit, Mosses obtained a Diploma in Business Studies from MARA Institute of Technology (now UITM) and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with specialisations in Marketing and double-majoring in Management and Organisation from Idaho State University in 1985. Mosses commenced his professional journey as a District MARA Officer in 1979, later transitioning to roles in banking and finance until 1999. Subsequently, he served as a Senior Business and Finance Executive at Peladang (Sarawak) Fishmart. Venturing into academia in 2000, Mosses became a valued faculty member in business and marketing across Asia, including the UAE, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Vietnam. Since 2001, he has also contributed as an adjunct lecturer at Open University Malaysia, Kuching Learning Centre. Mosses Ak Enjob’s rich experience spans industry and academia, bringing a unique perspective to his role and enriching the educational landscape at SEGi College Sarawak.

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