Teaching is challenging this time of year, we are getting ready for state wide tests and we start to realize that there is only 4-5 months left in the school year. These are added on top of being an effective teacher, keeping our relationships strong no matter the discipline problems that may arise, creating engaging lessons, meetings, grading papers, professional development etc…… This does not include our lives outside of teaching. This is the time of year that we need to pay special attention to ourselves and how the stresses are affecting us. Signs that the stress may be getting to you are finding yourself withdrawing from social interaction with colleagues, not sleeping well, a feeling of being overloaded, you become negative about situations, not enjoying activities that you normally would enjoy. We need to remember to take care of ourselves, the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Jeff Baxter compared self care with putting on an oxygen mask on a plane, put your mask on first before you help someone else. Sometimes we forget about our well being because we are so concerned with everyone else. This is a characteristic of being a teacher; this is why we are amazing people doing amazing things. What we forget is how to take care of ourselves. Make sure you take 30 minutes if not more a day for yourself. If that be working out with a colleague, read a book (non educational), breath, take a walk, or call a friend. We cannot be effective teachers if we do not take care of ourselves. Take a minute and think about what you are doing for yourself. If nothing, make that change today, your students are depending on you to stay engaged.