The second half of the year is heating up like the school’s boiler room. If you’re lucky, you’ve made it this far without getting knocked out by the ﬂ u. But staying healthy often takes more than luck. Julie Rooney, a retired school nurse who has weathered her share of cold and ﬂu seasons, shares a few time-tested, commonsense tips for staying healthy and strong.
Science shows that staying active helps boost the immune system. Just 10- to 15-minutes of exercise a couple of times a day will do your body (and mind) some good. Try speed walking around the gym or join a colleague for a brisk stroll (or run!) around the track. Walk up and down the stairs a few times or park a few blocks. Keeping your body in motion helps keep you healthy —and that keeps the rest of your life moving forward as well.
Balance your meals with veg-etables, protein, and healthy carbs. Brighten your plate with splashes of color—eat leafy greens, beets, blue-berries, and carrots or sweet potatoes. And cut down on sugar, which can throw off your blood sugar levels, leave you feeling fatigued, and suppress your immunity.
Take a mental break.
Take time in your day to breathe, stretch, and ﬁnd something to be grateful for. Smile even if nobody is there. Ample research shows positivity is good for your health.
Reﬁll a water bottle each morning and drink throughout the day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Try to drink at least two liters (or eight 8-ounce glasses) of water each day.
Wash your hands.
Use soap and water, and scrub from wrists to ﬁngertips for as long as it takes you to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Keep hand sanitizer at the ready, and use it after touching every-thing and anything you, your students, and anyone else touches. Teach your students to do the same—even high schoolers sometimes need reminding. Germs spread quickly, but staying vigilant can protect you as well as your students and colleagues.
Advocate for a school nurse.
Support school nurses to support the health of everyone in the building. A school nurse can address health complaints and medical emergencies. They are certiﬁed to dispense medications needed by students and staff. And they can offer excellent health education resources to staff and students.
Tips for a Cleaner Classroom
WIPE IT DOWN.
Contain the spread of germs by cleaning door handles, desktops, counters, sinks, and paper towel dispensers.
Keep tissues, hand sanitizer, and sanitizer wipes in classrooms for when students sneeze or cough.
SEND SICK STUDENTS HOME.
Teachers should not be afraid to send ill students home. If you feel ﬂuish, the same rule applies!
SUPPORT YOUR CUSTODIANS.
Ask what you and your students can do to help kill germs.
- 1 Register for our Facilitated Burnout Prevention Online Blended Learning Course
- 2 Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Cultivating Healing and Wellbeing Through Responsible Decision Making (Part 7)
- 3 Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Cultivating Healing and Wellbeing Through Social Awareness (Part 5)