teachers stay healthy

How Do Teachers Stay Healthy?

teachers stay healthy

Sometimes it seems like the biggest challenge of the school year.  As soon as school starts, the runny noses and general yuck starts in.  And teachers are fighting an uphill battle from the start.

So how do teachers stay healthy, especially when they are surrounded in germs and sickness most of the school year?  While it is impossible to keep yourself away from the germs, the quick answer is to build up your immunity so that the germs have no hold on you.  And there are several different ways to do that.  I made a list to get you started:

  1.   Step away from the hand sanitizer.
  2.  Get your daily dose of sunshine.
  3.   Take your vitamins.
  4.  Drink your water.
  5.   Stay upbeat.
  6.   Make use of essential oils known to promote wellbeing.

None of these steps can guarantee you will avoid succumbing to whatever virus comes your way.  But they will go far in helping you to avoid a good amount of them when these measures are followed over time.

Let's take a look at them now.

1.  Step Away From the Hand Sanitizer

I know that this one touches a nerve with some people who swear by it.  And both sides of the issue claim some valid points.

The Problems

But for many years now, a couple of glaring issues with hand sanitizer have emerged.  First, some of the ingredients have been questionable at best and harmful at worst.  Second, studies indicated that using hand sanitizer over time can actually harm immunity instead of helping it.

First, let's talk about the argument regarding harmful ingredients found in hand sanitizers.  According to this article on CNN.com, dozens of ingredients commonly found in hand sanitizers were banned from being included going forward.  Most notably, triclosan and benzethonium chloride were touted as harmful.

The Research

The jury is still out on ethyl alcohol, which is the main ingredient in the majority of  hand sanitizers currently being made.  Research is still being conducted, both for the safety of it and the percentage of it being used in hand sanitizers.

As for the immunity issue, the argument is that hand sanitizer cannot distinguish between good bacteria and bad bacteria.  So when a person uses hand sanitizer and then immediately touches something with harmful bacteria on it, they no longer have good bacteria to fight those germs that are now infiltrating their body.  Scientists continue to conduct research in an attempt to measure exactly how this issue is affecting those using hand sanitizers.

A Good Solution for Now

All authorities agree that hand sanitizer was not meant to replace hand washing.  It makes a good substitute when hand washing is not available.  And using it sparingly and infrequently is always recommended as best.

Research is expected to be completed soon.  Here's hoping that it gives us some definitive options going forward!

And an added bonus is that you will feel better overall, even if you do end up catching something on occasion.

2.  Get Your Daily Dose of Sunshine

Luckily, no argument exists in relation to this tip!  This may be the easiest and best way that teachers stay healthy.  100% of doctors and health related authorities recommend a good dose of daily sunshine.  Twenty minutes is considered optimal.  Of course, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.  If you are going to be out for a long period of time, protect yourself from the sun adequately.

Sunshine makes one of the best ways to stay healthy because it is a direct dose of vitamin D.  Daily sunshine gives the following benefits:

  1.  Stronger bone health
  2.  More energy
  3.  Feel better emotionally (fights depression)
  4. Enhances your immune system
  5. Clears your mind
  6. Helps you sleep better

I know that for me, walking daily elevates my mood and my energy instantly.  I rarely get sick, so it is hard to tell if it is because of my sun and other habits or good genetics.  But I know that it can't be hurting me!

I also realize that not everybody can walk, especially not every day.  If work or other aspects of your life hinder your ability to get out and enjoy the sun regularly, you can find a good source of Vitamin D and take that regularly.  It provides a good backup.  And that point provides a good transition to my next tip:

3.  Take Your Vitamins

This point is one more super easy way that teachers stay healthy.  It is not hard to do, and generally not super expensive.  You do want to do your research on which brands contain fillers and other harmful ingredients.  You also want to read up on which types of vitamins react best with your body.  There are gummies, pills, chewables, powders, sprays, and many other forms of vitamins.  Some forms react faster than others.  And some last longer than others.

And as if that isn't confusing enough, some react with other vitamins in different ways.  Because I am not a doctor and cannot give you medical advice, all I can say is read up on which vitamins are best for you and how best to take them.

4.  Drink Your Water!

Okay, I admit.  We all know this one.  But I am notoriously bad at not doing it, even though I know better.  I have read about those 30 day challenges that other people do and at the end of the 30 days they look so much healthier.  I have often wondered how much better I would look and feel.  But yet, I still do not drink my water.

I have had an aversion to the taste of water for my whole life.  In fact, when I was 14 years old, my mother tried to make me drink water and I refused.  So she refused to let me have anything else to drink for 3 days.  Only food.  And it was summer vacation, so I couldn't escape this at school.  Finally, she gave up after 3 days and I went back to drinking my favorite juice and milk.

I don't drink juice and milk very much anymore.  But I also don't drink water.

In the times that I did, I was very intentional about it.  I used various ingredients to make my water taste better.  Cucumbers, lemons, limes, oranges, cilantro, were some favorites, especially in the summertime.

I had a special Pinterest pin (see it here) that gave me tons of great drinking water recipes.  And for quite a while it worked.  But it was work.  I had to prepare and shop ahead.  It wasn't that hard.  But I did stop doing it.  I basically stopped planning and that caused the downfall of my healthy water run.

So let's get back to doing that together!  I know it would be better for me if I did.

5.  Stay Upbeat

There is a verse in the Bible that says, "A merry heart does good like medicine."  I know that not everybody agrees with the Bible or believes in that or religion.  But this verse is actually scientifically proven!

Staying positive is known to help make people feel better generally.  But it is also known to have helped people to heal better.  One of the things that we know about this is that when oxytocin is produced in your body, it helps your body to heal and feel better.  And it makes you feel emotionally better too.

There is a whole lot more to it, but that is a good start for those of us that are not doctors.

There are lots of good ways to stay positive.  I made a list for that too!

Ways to Stay Positive:

  1.  Listen to music.
  2. Write down positive thoughts in a journal (even if you're having a crappy day).
  3. Go on a walk.
  4. Call or text a friend.
  5. Read a book.
  6. Watch a movie (a happy one!).
  7. Go get a little bit of your favorite food (not to be interpreted as binge eating or comfort eating).
  8. Consciously change your negative thoughts to positive ones

I bet you all can add about 50 more to this list.  There is so much you can do, but if you are feeling down or discouraged, it won't come naturally.  You will have to be intentional about it.

If you start doing these things, you find that over time it does become more natural.  And you will find an overall wellbeing take over in time.  And that will help teachers (and everybody else) stay healthy in ways that you never realized!

6.  Make Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils are not scientifically proven.  But for those of us that have used them, we know that they do well for us.  The sense of smell is powerful.  We can connect vivid memories to particular smells.

And there are just some smells that make us feel good.  There are smells that are known to give us energy.

So just at the basic smell level, essential oils that are diffused in your living space will make you feel good.  And we know that feeling good contributes to a healthier immune system.

I could write a book on essential oils.  Or I could just read one of the hundreds of great books out there already.  I don't have enough room in this article to do it justice.

But I will say that if you haven't gotten an inexpensive diffuser and experienced being surrounded by your favorite scents, you need to give it a try!  You certainly won't lose anything by doing it and will enjoy your space even more!

Here is the set of diffusers I use in my classroom  (you can also buy tons or more beautiful ones but I absolutely love the functionality of this set):

As for the essential oils to put in them, I would strongly recommend using only organic essential oils.  Non-organic ones contain chemicals that actually harm the  air quality around you.

You can get organic essential oils online easily or you can get them at any of your local health stores.

Conclusion

Obviously, these tips are not exclusive to teachers.  Everybody can follow these steps and feel better.  But teachers and other people whose jobs expose them to higher than normal harmful bacteria can benefit greatly from following these steps.  And they may find that the results make a big difference in the quality of classroom time.  They can be better teachers because they feel better.  They aren't fighting the barrage of illnesses coming their way.  And who wouldn't want those benefits?

For some other inspirational ideas on equipping your classroom, check out these articles:

15 Unusual Needs You'll Love for Your Classroom

Smartest Technology Finds You'll Love for Your Classroom

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Comments 66

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  1. I feel really sorry for teachers. Especially with younger children. There always seem to be a child or two that has the cold in class. Chicken pox and measles is also quite common, yikes!!

  2. I try not to use too much hand sanitizer. I too believe it cannot replace hand washing, but it’s certainly good to have on hand when in a bind.

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  3. Wow, what a great list full with awesome tips! I love that you stated writing down positive thoughts even if we’re having a crappy day. It’d help us to stay positive indeed, which would lead us to the merry heart that “does good like medicine”. 🙂 – Ola

  4. I always though hand sanitizer were a good idea. I like to have them with me all the time, and give them as gifts as well. It’s interesting what I just learned about them. And I’m also all about sunshine.

  5. What a great list. My DIL is a teacher and I’m passing this on to her. I’m a nurse by profession and although I’m a believer in hand sanitizer in some situations, I’m equally a believer in good old fashioned hand washing when available.

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  6. I used to have some health problems when I started working in a primary school a few years ago. Now I work with teenagers, so I have fewer health problems. Just the stress level and mental fitness are a kind of challenge for me. 🙂

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      I just wrote an article about the stress and mental toll that teaching takes and how to relax during Christmas break! I hope you are able to get some good rest and return refreshed and ready to go!

  7. For me, hand sanitizer is very important. I travel a lot and I get in contact with many dirty surfaces, especially on planes. I need it to clean my hands when there is no water around, I need it for when I touch hand rails in train stations, or press the button to open the doors on the tube. Of course, water and soap should be the first choice, but when that is not available, hand sanitizer is the best next thing.

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  8. I would never have thought that about the hand santiser. My father uses it by the bucket load and has done since his mother and father got ill a number of years ago. Now he keeps one of the red hospital type ones in the car at all times and uses it constantly!

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  9. Interesting facts about hand sanitizers! My other half swears by them…….i may have to study this further. I do wonder how teachers make it through the year!! Sometimes they look so ill! Can’t be easy for them having so many kids to teach whilst feeling poorly!

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      Hand sanitizers definitely have their place! And some teachers are amazing at pulling things no matter how bad they feel. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Yesssss, thank you for saying that about hand sanitizer! What happened to good ol’ soap and water? I don’t think washing your hands is any less convenient that squirting that stuff on your hands. It’s just not good for anyone.

  11. I can imagine how difficult it must be during the school months. I know I dread it as a mom. I honestly did not know that about hand sanitizer. And here I am pushing it on my son. Good thing he doesn’t listen lol.

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  12. As a former pre k teacher I fully agree with this list! It is so rough to not stay healthy. I would also say in addition to staying away from hand sanitizer(Hand sanitizer is a waste of money and it isn’t nearly as effective as washing hands.) to disinfect everything! I litterally would disinfect toys surfaces and sleep cots every single day at least twice (once during naptime I would spray all surfaces and toys ) and at the end of the day everything got cleaned. And I also made sure to maintain eating. That way I could keep up. I swear by it. I do it with my kids at home now too!

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  13. Staying healthy is one of the greatest challenge for humanity. But it’s the best way to survive all these up and down day activities. Your steps are accurate. You deserve an award and a well done hug.😄😄.

    I do enjoy ur post.

  14. I love these tips. The first one is one of the most important, in my opinion. People have come to think of hand sanitizer as a hand-washing substitute, but it really isn’t. Plus, it’s terrible for your skin.

  15. Thanks for the great tips for staying safe and well. I totally agree! Hand sanitiser should definitely not replace traditional hand washing.

  16. Well I use hand sanitizer these days because COVID-19 is a threat. My mom was a teacher for 30 plus years and I totally relate to this because my Mom got all the cold and flu bugs and Brough them home to share too. LOL. Take care of yourself.

  17. I use hand sanitizer a lot lately actually. My Mom was a teacher though so I do undertsna dhwta you are talking about with respect to how germs this profession is. She caught all of the colds and Brought them home. Vitamin C, rest and time off school was essential when sick.

  18. Now more than ever does this post resonate with so many! The world realized teachers are essential and should deserve so much more praise, and I hope it sticks moving forward. I love essential oils and think that’s a great addition too!

  19. Great tips! One very important way for me to stay healthy as a teacher is to be moving around – even incorporating movement in classes where appropriate!

  20. I’m with you with the hand sanitizer situation. That does reduce immunity because your body doesn’t make antibodies to fight virus when you get them.

  21. As a teacher myself, I always find it hard to stay away from colds haha, great tips. Having a classroom with good ventilation helps a lot!

  22. As a pre-school teacher, I know that my health kind of depends on my sleep and as you said – the daily dose of sun. If I don’t go outside, I get really tired and by that my sleep gets affected.

  23. Being a teacher does not come so easy, one need to be physically and mentally fit to stay up to the challenges. I find all these tips very helpful. Thank you to the writer

  24. Such great tips to stay healthy. These tips connect to all of us, we need and we should stay healthy despite covid19.

  25. Yeah do agree with this…staying healthy is the most important thing of all…well great tips and ideas though..glad to know all about these..Thanks indeed for sharing…Great work..

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