Weekly Digest #47: Academic Lifestyle and Self Care
First, some statistics. We LOVE statistics! Then we'll get to our main point. Across the United States and the World, there are a lot of teachers. In Fall 2016 there were approximately 3.1 million full-time equivalent teachers in public schools with another 400,000 in private schools teaching K-12. In 2013, there were about 1.5 million college professors out there. Of course, not everyone is a teacher, but there are certainly a few of us! Even of those who aren't teachers, most have had contact with teachers at some point in their lives; In 2015, 91% of Americans had a high school diploma, and 46% of adults in the US had an Associates degree or higher.
Yet even with the prevalence of teachers and contact with teachers, it seems, at least from our perspective, that few understand what the academic lifestyle truly means. One high school teacher touched on this in her interview blog. In our experience, many people (our students included) have the misconception that College and University Professors just teach classes and occasionally meet with students. Of course, in reality, that's not true at all. The Learning Scientists definitely work more than 40 hours per week, and we are pretty confident in saying that many, if not most, other college professors are doing the same.
The Academic Lifestyle can be extremely stressful, and we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. Many academics have perfectionist personalities, also known as Type A. At least a few of us can say this trait has driven us to be successful academics, and is also our own worst enemy much of the time. We're guessing many academics reading this are nodding along feeling the same way. To avoid burning out, here are a list of resources related to stress, mental health, and self-care. The first resource is a video that one of us uses in their class to teach students about stress and health (and the importance of taking care of yourself both physically and mentally). The other resources are all about how academics manage their own mental health, and provide stories to remind us that we're not alone.
1) The Psychology of Stress by Robert Sapolsky
In this clip from a longer video, Dr. Sapolsky talks about stressors and how chronic stress can be harmful to our bodies. If you like this, check out another clip from the same video, How a Chair Revealed the Type A Personality Profile. It's a great story!
This is a very touching personal story about struggling with mental health as a student. This writer wants the readers to know they are not alone because learning about others with mental health problems helped her as a student.
5) The Science Behind Meditation and Why it Makes you Feel Better by George Dvorsky
This post explains why meditation is so good for you, and could be a wonderful way to help destress and take care of yourself. Try meditating with a free meditation app, like Meditation Oasis. In addition, try deep breathing for relaxation, or going through this assessment when you're not feeling great to help you make sure you're taking care of your body.
If you liked this post, check out this previous digest: Weekly Digest #35: Taking Care of Yourself
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