Brain Breaks for Teachers: Work Smarter, Not Harder During the COVID-19 Quarantine


Many teachers were probably burning the midnight oil before the United States went into quarantine from the Novel Coronavirus. With teaching responsibilities moved to digital platforms, student (and parent) questions coming in all day long, and perhaps even your own children at home to coach through online schooling, you may be feeling more than a little stressed.
With teaching responsibilities moved to digital platforms, student (and parent) questions coming in all day long, and perhaps even your own children at home to coach through online schooling, you may be feeling more than a little stressed. Brain breaks are the key to staying sane during the quarantine. #brainbreaks #quarantine #teachingfromhome

It is very important to still take Brain Breaks just as you would in the classroom! Even though many of you are working from home, it isn't much of a vacation. You still work the same hours (sometimes even longer!). You still have to be available and on demand for the better part of your day. You have to field difficult topics and questions without verbally speaking. You may even be trying to fit in your own child's instruction amidst your regular teaching. Brain breaks are the key to staying sane during the quarantine.

All of the brain breaks designed for the classroom can take place at home too. In fact, many of them will become even easier inside your own four walls! Especially with the stress surrounding the current state of our nation, you should certainly allow yourself a few minutes to check out from the chaos.

 To start, try the basic tips from the blog post on Self-Care, Put on Your Oxygen Mask First: Self-Care in the First Month of School (and the rest of the year, too!).

1. Try chair yoga! Stretch into a few poses in your office chair or roll a towel out on your living room floor for an even more engaging practice. Don't skip Savasana! The body can benefit the most from a few minutes of peace and quiet. Check out 15 Yoga Poses to Shed the Teacher Tension and Stretch Through Chronic Desk-Job Pain.

2. Enjoy desk drinks & sneak-able snacks! But wait... you're at home, so there's no need to sneak! Allow yourself a favorite coffee drink or sweet dessert when tensions rise. Veg out on your favorite treat in between email replies or student outreach.

3. Break for books! Now more than ever, it's important to unplug from the social media storm. You should stay apprised of current news but not allow yourself to be sucked into the endless scroll. Check out to a fantasy land for a few minutes each day.

From the comfort of your own home, you can take even more brain breaks! You don't have to wait for the bell or your planning period.

For more brain breaks, try some of the following:

  • Dance break! Turn on your favorite jam and wiggle to the beat. Many National dance studios are even streaming free ballet classes on Facebook.
  • Play period music. For a brain break with an educational twist, keep your focus with music from certain periods of history. 
  • Color or draw. I'm sure your art teacher colleagues will tell you - you're never too old for art! 
  • Crosswords, mazes, or word searches. The best brain breaks are those that allow you a few minutes of mindless distraction. Keep your brain spry by solving puzzle clues in between assignments. Try these End of the Year World History Puzzles or these End of the Year Modern America Activities!  
  • Travel! From the comfort of your own couch, of course. No need to risk exposure when you can see the world from your living room. Browse Google maps for your dream destinations or take virtual field trips at worldwide aquariums, zoos, or theaters.
  • Browse a world famous museum. Also from the comfort of your own couch, travel through popular museums and view art installments, historical exhibits, and more! 
  • Go sky high! Search your favorite roller coasters in POV mode on Youtube for an exciting adventure.
  • Dig for gold. Try online scavenger hunts for more fun, especially those to keep you thinking historically! 
Travel! From the comfort of your own couch, of course. No need to risk exposure when you can see the world from your living room. Browse Google maps for your dream destinations or take virtual field trips at worldwide aquariums, zoos, or theaters. #digitalfieldtrip #googletravel #digitaltravel #travelfromyourcouch
These aren't just teacher brain breaks, either! These activities would also be great for kiddos of any age. Most importantly, no matter how old you are, prioritize your mental health and sanity in any way you can. Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear, reminds Kentucky citizens of this vital fact and reiterates that social distancing is not isolation. 
Beshear says, "Isolation is not what we're asking for and it's not healthy. Kids ought to continue to have a schedule and so should adults. You should continue to get outside. It doesn't mean that you close down your life and you hunker down in your home."
Treat your brain, body, and sanity with love and compassion throughout this difficult time! Take all the brain breaks you can, and try to stay positive throughout this state of emergency. Best wishes! #teachingsanity #brainbreaksforteachers #teachertips
Treat your brain, body, and sanity with love and compassion throughout this difficult time! Take all the brain breaks you can, and try to stay positive throughout this state of emergency. Best wishes!

Happy Teaching, from wherever you may be teaching,
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Brittany Cloyd
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