Creating Space for Self-Care with Boundaries

Create space for self-care with healthy boundaries, as expert Katie Quick, explores simple and powerful ways to improve your life.

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Teaching Strategies:

Self-Care with Boundaries

Creating Space for Self-Care

Teaching is probably the toughest, most nuanced, and energetically expensive job in the world. Not only are we juggling an insane amount of responsibilities and daily demands, but we are also managing the feelings, emotions, personalities, and ever-changing dynamics of the entire class every single day (all while having to *actually* teach). And that, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Teachers, as a result, are unfortunately very familiar with burnout. Most of us are big-hearted empaths by nature, brimming with sensitivity, and feeling called to do whatever we can to support our students. We give, take care, encourage, and nurture all day, every day. This is noble, no doubt, but the excessive and prolonged stress it can cause is also dangerous. 

The antidote to burnout is self-care

Multifaceted and intentional, these purposeful, nourishing acts of self-care are so important because they help us build resilience toward the stressors in our lives and help us refill our energetic cups. And although we see self-care often marketed as a luxury for the masses, for teachers, it is most certainly essential. Rest, healthy nutrition, time with loved ones, space to process our emotions, and fun are so important if we want to be the best we can be, right? So with self-care being preached and PD’d ad nauseam, why are so many of us still struggling with it? 

The B-Word

Boundaries are the limits, rules, and guidelines we set for ourselves. They help define who we are as individuals, create emotional and physical safety, show others how to treat us, and help us conserve our energy. Boundaries create space for what matters most in our lives, and they also create space for self-care. When we say no to the people, things, or activities that do not serve us, we are saying yes to ourselves. We are proudly proclaiming, “I deserve to have a piece of the pie chart of my life!”  Without boundaries, self-care can become another thing added to our neverending to-do list. 

Taking work home, staying at school outside of contract hours, committing to extra tasks and responsibilities, or communicating with parents and colleagues after the school day ends are just a few of the ways our energy can become depleted. But they are also opportunities to practice setting boundaries. 

Think about your day from start to finish. What is one thing you can say no to? What is one way you can make yourself a priority? What would be possible with that newfound time and energy? Will you have more time to spend with your family and friends? More energy to go on that hike or cook that meal that you love? Take a moment and lean into the idea of letting something go, canceling those plans, or leaving your work on your desk before you go home. You’ll likely feel some discomfort, but that means you’re on the right track. After all, self-care isn’t selfish. It is self-love.

By, Katie Quick, MA, LPCC |

Katie Quick is a licensed professional counselor, award-winning singer/songwriter, former classroom teacher, social-emotional learning specialist, educational consultant, and national speaker with a Masters in Counseling from Northwestern University and nearly two decades in education, mental health, and music. Learn more about Katie and her Fingertips program for schools here!

Watch Katie's featured on-demand self-care for educators webinar: Creating Self-Care with Boundaries: Music Edition!

About the author

Katie Quick


About Katie

Katie Quick, MA, LPC (she/her) is a licensed professional counselor, former classroom teacher, social-emotional learning specialist, national speaker, and award-winning… Read more

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