I began reading and journaling daily when I taught high school. I started each day with my bible and a notebook, and I ended each day with my online journal and a paperback book. I’ve been beginning and ending my days the same way ever since, and I’ve tracked my evolution through my journal entries and reading choices.
I journaled the following in 2015.
“I had a good day. I’m tired, but I’m not completely wiped out.”
“What a day. Parent-teacher conferences. I’ve blogged and written. I even cleaned a sink. Off to bed. Goodnight.”
“I actually had a good day today.”
“Today was a good day. My classes went well. My observation went really well. I got a lot of positive feedback and some good tips to implement.”
“I had a better day today.”
My journal entries then were often brief. As I’ve learned to use journaling proactively to fend off stress, rather than reactively to climb out of the abyss, my journal entries now dive into my emotions and insights, not just my daily occurrences. My reading has evolved as well. In 2015, I could only handle fluff. Today, I still read fluff, but I temper it with meatier choices.
I’m a learner. I’ve always wanted to know and understand, and I realized the more stressed I got, the more I neglected that natural inclination. I neglected it because I felt I needed to spend time on responsibilities piling up around me. I failed to recognize the less time I spent feeding my need, the less capable I became of handling my life stressors.
Most educators are learners, like me; and while we know of many ways to learn, many of us turn to reading and writing as our first avenue of learning. The written word is a vital vehicle for people to understand one another and to feel understood. It is a transformational tool with the power to reshape individuals and entire societies, both through the writing itself and through reading the written product. Reading and writing are life-changing, revolutionary acts. As educators, we understand the transformative power of reading and writing, but we may not consider how these revolutionary acts can help us break the cycle of educator exhaustion and begin self care.
Reading and writing are two parts of the same process; both deal with message delivery. Sometimes we read and receive messages from others; sometimes we journal and receive messages from ourselves. Either way, gifting ourselves with the time and space to read and write is a viable means of providing educator self care.
I am doing a 31-day series on reading and journaling as self care for educators. Each day of the series has a bonus worksheet. Click to join the LELA House family of educators committed to nourishing their reading, writing, and creative souls. You’ll receive a link to the worksheets and gain early access to upcoming LELA House ideas, courses, and products. You only need to subscribe once. I will add a new worksheet each day to the access link.
Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and creator. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and teenage children and enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and pushing her creative boundaries. You can follow her at roshaundacade.com, lela-house.com, and on Teachable, Medium, Youtube, Pinterest, and Instagram.