By DeAnn Albertson-Fontanella
Congratulations. You officially made it through January! This year has had a bumpy pandemic start. Many of you have been teaching virtually, in person, or (like me) a combination of both. Congratulations on making it through the many steps you needed to coordinate and deliver the education our students deserve. Thank you for continuing to show up when words of appreciation might be few and far between. I want you to know I appreciate and thank you for all you do.
Last year, I started this BYOV (Be Your Own Valentine) challenge. Now, whatever story of Valentine’s Day you accept is up to you—many have an underlying theme of love. Learning to love and take care of yourself can be a simple process that starts by being your own valentine. People often stress around the holidays, and often overlook their own self-care. Many of us have made New Year's resolutions. For others, our new year is upon us. A resolution might be a goal or lifestyle change to help you feel better—maybe physically, emotionally, financially, or all the above.
My first valentine was my little sister, Kari. She was born on Valentine’s Day and helped to make that day special for me. Now, I not only honor her, but also am working at self-love and self-care, which I believe is an ongoing process—not a one-and-done weekend project. You are with yourself constantly, so being mindful of your health is a meaningful process.
You might ask, how can I be my own valentine? I might respond, how can’t you? You're a good valentine to others, now be a good valentine to yourself. Start to think about how you treat other people. Are you as kind and loving to yourself as you are to others? Monitor your self-talk and try to correct yourself if you go down that negative rabbit hole. Try dedicating a certain time of day to check in with yourself. If you need to set an alarm, do it. I utilize that tool often to engage in and complete activities.
By being your own valentine, you are taking steps for your own happiness and well-being. We cannot count on others to do that for us. Humans make mistakes and can be disappointing; we can even disappoint ourselves. By BYOV, you can be more compassionate toward others. The world needs more compassion and love.
💗Wake up every day with gratitude.
💗Be true to your spiritual or religious practice.
💗Write yourself a love letter.
💗Set an alarm to check in with yourself.
💗Give the day or month a theme word, color, scent or sound.
💗Give yourself a big hug and say, “I love you me!”
💗Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
💗Keep moving your body two to three times a week (for example, yoga, walk, swim, run).
💗Give yourself a compliment.
Be your own valentine, or take small steps of self-care. You will be glad you did.
BYOV: Next, share how you accomplished being your own valentine in the comments of the blog. Maybe it is in honor of a valentine other than yourself.
Where to Join Me in Person
The 41st Annual Pre-K and Kindergarten Conference(March 15-16) in person. My session is Tuesday, March 15, Session E: 1:30-2:30 p.m. Central time.
Ready for some self-care with yoga? Be sure to try these wellness sessions with DeAnn, available on demand for free:
DeAnn Albertson-Fontanella is an itinerant early childhood intervention specialist for the Cincinnati Public Schools, CFT co-facilitator of the AFT’s Teacher Leaders Program, and a yoga instructor. Follow her on Facebook and Moxie.