Curating the Happy for Your Future Self

Teacher Tip #112 Teacher Self-Care: 

Create a Happy Folder

In my School Library Media office desk I had a manilla folder where I carefully tucked all the hand written notes from kiddos & parents to read on a rainy day.

I also SHAMELESSLY would first tape them to my office door (let the other teachers internally writhe with envy!)  Nah, really just to keep me motivated and also show the kiddos I appreciated their heartfelt little notes! 

But.....before I tucked it away tenderly or taped it to my door, I took a picture of it and uploaded it to Flickr. A digital Happy Folder that pays back dividends of warm fuzzies and motivations for your future self. 

Because, let's not kid ourselves, being an educator right now is HARD. 

Start this habit NOW. 

Don't be like me and wait 10 or 15 years. OK, some of that was because cell phones and digital cameras weren't as handy and as ubiquitous back then. But do your future self a favor, there will be days when you will need it. 

Make a practice to screenshot and archive Happy Tweets you get (I refuse to say happy X's?) or any other positive messages on Social Media. 

I even got one today! A year after retiring, it's nice to see I had a positive influence on a talented young School Teacher Librarian! Awwwwwww!  I can't tell you how squee it made me feel. 

A funny thing that happened because of this good habit. 

Years ago, (Ok, 2014) one of my student happy notes ended up in a  Buzzfeed article! 

Sure enough, a friend spotted it and let me know. Why? Because all my photos are Flickr Creative Commons, and the clever interns at Buzzfeed most likely found them with savvy Googling. It was for an article called 11 Ways To Thank A Teacher (Without Using An Apple)

I wrote about it about 8 years ago...  Always Be Thankful For Thanks!  I guess I've been evangelizing the best practice to archive gratitude for a while now. It's a good self-care and mindfulness habit! 

So, before you let some hard days get you down, collect, document, and archive the positive and save some happy for your future self. 

Don't forget to pay it forward! Write happy notes to kiddos when you catch them being awesome, inscribe an ARC book for one of your frequent flyer readers, pen a thank you to a young teacher or caring colleague. All these small things add up to good feelings and banks away smiles for a difficult day. 

What good habits to you cultivate for your personal or professional self-care? 
I'd love to learn from you in the comments! 

Take care, sweet friends!  

More gifts for your future self: 

  • Replace that trash can liner right away
  • Recycle
  • Load your dishes & tidy your kitchen before bed
  • Buy that book - I know $13.99 is a LOT for a Kindle book, just think about it as a bottle of wine or an appetizer you split with friends. 
  • Wear fuzzy socks. If you're older, make sure they have grippies on them, falling is bad for us old folks!
  • Like Mr. Rogers, put on comfy clothes as soon as you get home. Even better, buy ninja comfy clothes you can wear out. Shh! I won't tell! 
  • Drink more water (I just chugged some!) 
  • Pay it forward
  • Don't let your inner voice be mean to you. Replace any thoughts like "that was stupid!" to "that was silly" or just say to yourself or even out loud "Oops!" lol 
  • Remember, EVERYONE overthinks what people think. Most people are thinking about themselves and worrying about what they're thinking - they're probably NOT thinking about YOU. Even if they are, bless their hearts. 
  • Respond to passive aggressive comments with a bemused "I'm confused, what do you mean by that?" And shut up and wait with a quietly interested questioning eyes. Watch them flounder and sputter. Most people who try that won't try it again if they're called on it.  OR.... just mentally shrug if off and silently bless their hearts. You can't fix them & they must be having a harder day/week/month or life than you. 
  • Practice gratitude. Every time when I pray, I start with a recital of all the things I'm grateful for and thank the Lord (or Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Thor, insert your preferred deity here) for all his gifts and abundance. Then I pray for my family and friends. Don't know the name of the sister in law of your friend who just had the hip surgery? It's ok. God knows. 

Need me? I'm still here! Though I'm retired and am keeping VERY busy living at the beach, I'm still accessible for advice and venting. Use my contact info to reach out.  I promise to try my best to help and unless you're spam, you'll hear back from me!   



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