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Session Title: Self-care is not selfish
Speaker: Jennifer Heidorn, Lecturer, University of West Georgia
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Session description: Academic wellness is something we strive for in our courses and with our students. Faculty continually provide opportunities for students to develop academically towards a chosen field of study through teaching, mentoring, meeting, and other means of connection and development. However, sometimes we jeopardize our own wellness in an effort to become a more effective and student-centred instructors. Most educators perform caring tasks willingly and reap some measure of reward from maintaining the identity of a caring professional (Philibert, Soto & Veon, 2020). While not every teacher is suffering, many are. In 2017, “Teachers reported having poor mental health for eleven or more days per month at twice the rate of the general U.S. workforce. They also reported lower-than-recommended levels of health outcomes and sleep per night” (Educator Quality of Life Survey, 2017). Based on a Gallup poll, Greenberg, Brown, and Abenavoli (2016) note that “46% of teachers report high daily stress, tied with nurses for the highest among all occupations.” This session will explore the neuroscience of stress and its impact on the mind and body. Participants will explore how to develop resilience through the practice of some individualized self-care strategies for educators. Takeaways: Explore the connection between exercise and emotional wellness; View self-care technology tools and apps; Complete self-reflecting strategies for optimal self-care; Understand effective breathing techniques to encourage overall wellness; Discuss potential everyday stressors.

Bio:  Jennifer’s interests include physical activity integration, mindfulness, personal and social responsibility curriculum, elementary health & physical education pedagogy, and fitness-based activity classes. She is also a certified vinyasa yoga instructor (RYT-200) through the Yoga Alliance.