Being an online teacher certainly has many upsides, from setting your own hours, being able to work from home in your pyjamas to ultimately answering only to yourself. However, it’s not all roses and sunshine. The dark side of online teaching includes frequent isolation, irregular working hours, and a possible toll on your health.
As an online teacher myself, I know firsthand some of the negative effects that this kind of work entails. Over the years, I’ve gradually learned to avoid most of them by using some simple self-care strategies and personal care supplies that I think every teacher could benefit from.
I have compiled a list of things for self-care that would be beneficial to keep at the workplace.
A good chair. No. A very good chair!
Bear in mind that you’re likely going to spend a large portion of your day sitting in this chair, so it’s worth spending the cash to get the perfect office chair for your needs. Finding one that’s comfortable and with good support is absolutely vital.
Computer glasses and moisture drops
Digital protection lenses, computer glasses, help reduce exposure to harmful blue light emitted from digital devices. Such glasses offer a protective shield that reduces glare and blue light from digital screens and artificial lights that can lead to digital eye strain.
With the onslaught of digital devices with screens and the increased usage of these devices, a lot of people are afflicted with a particular type of eye strain, dryness and irritation. For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops. Eye drops (artificial tears) add moisture to the eyes to relieve dry eye discomfort. They help your tear film work more effectively.
A thermo mug or thermos
Teachers might have just 5-10 minutes break between lessons. Online teachers have even a shorter break as they need to check the equipment, prepare the links, start the lesson session in advance. Therefore, they are always in a hurry. However, it is such a pleasure to be able to sit and enjoy your piping hot drink in a mug without the need to run to the kitchen or even during the lesson. In such a busy-obsessed rhythm, there is a solution to this dilemma everywhere – a thermo mug or a thermos.
I try to start every day with a nutritious breakfast before I sit down to start work. I have a plan for your lunches throughout the week so I don’t suddenly find yourself starving with no food in the house. And finally, I keep my work-space filled with healthy snacks and a big bottle of water to stay hydrated
A neck and shoulder massager
Sometimes a solid shoulder rub is all you need to take the stress away but paying for a massage every week can break the bank. So why not treat yourself to a shoulder rub every day with an awesome gadget, a neck and shoulder massager! You deserve it!
A Vitamin-D boosting desk lamp
If you work in a room without any windows or with minimal lighting, this bad boy is for you. Get your daily dose of mood-boosting vitamin D with a small, but powerful lamp.
Time tracking apps
I used to find myself not having enough time to finish the tasks, grade papers, prepare for the lesson. This means that, instead of having some free time for myself, I’m spending my evening and weekends rushing to complete the work. You need to know where your hours are going and keep a time log to find out. For this, you can use time-tracking apps like Everhour and Timely, or even Google Sheets. Since I’m trying to spend less time on my computer, I just used a pen and paper. This also makes it feel more personal to me.
After a couple of weeks of logging, it was easy for me to get a clear picture of what’s going on. I’m spending too much time doing things that can be done quickly, for example, looking for a perfect worksheet for hours or messaging students after working hours.
Once you’ve figured out where your hours are going, it’s just a matter of changing your habits so you can be more time-efficient. I said “no” to multitasking (e.g. watching youtube videos, trying to find something interesting for students and having breakfast at the same time), plan my week in advance and set a timer for every task I need to do and try to complete it within that time limit.
No one really understands the life of an online teacher unless they live it. But you do live it. And it is easy to forget about your own needs while working. The end result will be burnout and lack of productivity. So take care of yourself right here and right now!