Teaching is hard.
It’s not like that’s a secret, but until you’ve been at the front of a classroom, it’s hard to conceptualize how difficult it really is. The workload is heavy, the hours are long, the work/life balance can often feel non-existent, and it’s very emotionally draining. It’s no wonder so many teachers find themselves either quitting or putting themselves on autopilot.
My first year of teaching was rough, as is the case for most first year teachers. I fell into a lot of nasty stress-induced habits, such as not sleeping enough, working way too much, never exercising, depending on caffeine for everything, and eating junk food. I didn’t want to have unrealistic expectations for everything when I started my second year, but one thing I did want to focus on was my health.
I am happy to stay that this is something that has stuck. One of my friends and I meet at the gym 3-4 times a week for an hour of butt-kicking and what a difference it has made in my life! That’s not to say it’s been easy. It can be incredibly difficult to find the motivation to go to the gym and incredibly easy to delude yourself into thinking you don’t have time (which is a LIE! Stop lying to yourself; everybody has time, even if it’s only 30 minutes.) Having a gym partner has helped immensely…and once we got started, it became addicting in a good way. I’m healthier, my stress levels are way down compared to what they were last year, and after a good workout, I can think so much more clearly and I get 10 times the work done that I ever could without the endorphin high.
It’s also worth mentioning that working out can be a ton of fun! I look forward to it every evening because I know that I have a whole hour to do something for myself that doesn’t involve work or obligations. I believe that variety is the spice of life and always look for new and exciting ways to challenge myself…and I’ve done everything from Irish step dancing to High Intensity Interval Training.
Most of the workouts that I use are free on YouTube and can be done with little to no equipment (and usually with very little space). Here are a few favorites:
This is my go-to channel. The videos are so straightforward and you can see exactly how many calories you’ll burn by the end. They also have a huge variety of both cardio and strength training routines. Most of them are really fun and it’s obvious that a lot of work goes into making workouts that aren’t repetitive.
Perfect for days you really want to kill yourself (or if you love hardcore pilates). She even posts daily playlists to target different parts of the body each day, which is super helpful. I definitely feel much stronger and more toned after every workout.
These are really fun and perfect if you are looking for a break from a “typical” workout. She does a lot of fun, high cardio dance routines. My personal fave is the Reggae Dancehall.
Sarah Beth Yoga
I’m a huge fan of doing yoga…especially after a stressful day or if I’m still sore from an especially tough workout. This channel includes every type of yoga you could imagine: power yoga, yoga for balance, yoga for flexibility…even yoga for very specific conditions, such as scoliosis or sciatica. I love throwing in at least one of these videos a week to complement all of the cardio and strength training.
Whether you are a fellow teacher at your wits’ end or in some other high-stress situation that leaves you feeling exhausted, if you are reading this, I hope you take my advice…get some exercise! Even fifteen minutes a day will make a difference.
Also, if you’ve already been enlightened to the magic of YouTube fitness, what channels do you use? I’m always looking to switch up my routine.