Posted in Teaching Diary/Blog

Self-Care and the Jewish New Year

At our last staff meeting, the Principal of my middle school encouraged all teachers and staff members to take personal wellness days off from work to rest and recover. We are all stressed/tired/overworked, she said. Make sure you take care of yourself. I could not believe my ears.

Last year, I’m pretty sure I lost my job for taking wellness days. I am someone who is very into self-care and wellness. I try to check in with myself often and do my best to make sure I am meeting my own needs before I become sick or run down. How can I hope to function in that shape? How can I possibly do a job?

My supervisor did not agree, last year, and consistently questioned me when I took time off. I ended up having to get a doctor’s note confirming that I required the time off that I was taking. They no longer said anything about it — they just didn’t renew my position at the end of the year!

So, this year, it is more than a welcome relief to see my colleagues take “personal days” when they need to. And to be outright encouraged to spend a day just taking care of my needs! More administrators should be this reasonable! We are human beings and we need rest, peace, and positivity!

After I requested my day off this week, I realized it would be Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. As a Jewish person, I look forward to this solemn day of reflection that comes once a year. Many people would not think of it as “fun” or “rest,” but I know I will feel truly revived come Tuesday, the start of the Jewish new year.

So, I guess, it worked out nicely for me. I will have a nice day, and a nice week because of it. I wish all the teachers out there a peaceful fall season. Give yourself permission to take the day off!


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