Some say that superheroes aren’t real, but those of us who have fond memories of a favorite school teacher would be quick to disagree.
Between grading papers, professional development courses, coaching sports teams, supervising extra-curricular activities, chaperoning events, helping students navigate their personal drama, and, not to mention, the actual teaching, super teachers everywhere must somehow find the time to maintain their own health and happiness. We recently sat down with veteran teacher, health nut, and Puritan’s Pride customer Amanda Dinkel to learn what it takes to stay healthy during the school year.
How long have you been a teacher, and what subjects do you teach?
I’ve been teaching for 10.5 years, and I teach art, including photography, and English.
You a lot of time at a desk. If we opened a drawer, what might we find?
I love my snacks! You’d find a jar of peanut butter, a can of almonds, fruit and date bars, and dark chocolate. I save the dark chocolate for stressful days, or when I simply want to treat myself. My students make fun of my jars of peanut butter, but a spoonful of peanut butter in the afternoon keeps me satiated until I get home for dinner.
We heard that you advocate for the use of aromatherapy in the classroom. What scents do your students like best?
I was unsure if my students would like having my oils diffused in my classroom. However, I’ve been using a lot of citrus–lemongrass is my favorite—which has a clean, refreshing scent that my students and I enjoy. Every day I try a different scent, so each day is a new experience for the students.
How do you take care of yourself during the workday? We know teaching leaves little time for self-care breaks.
My goal is to exceed 7,000 steps on my activity counter. Some days that is easy to reach, and other days, I’ll try to do more laps around my classroom while my students are working. This is easy on test days, since I like to monitor progress as they go! I also spend my lunch with another teacher. We are off duty during lunch, so we close off the doors to her room and just talk about whatever we need to.
My goal is to exceed 7,000 steps on my activity counter.
As a teacher, which nutritional supplements do you rely on during the school year?
I try to keep things simple, so I rely on a women’s daily multivitamin; vitamin D, especially during those dark winter days, and peppermint oil gels.
How do you support your immune system during the school year?
Last year, I decided to make meals that included a lot of veggies, had complex carbs, and most importantly, were not processed. I also started drinking at least 60 ounces of water a day, and basically stopped drinking soda. I also try to exercise daily–even if it is just a 20-minute walk. By having this lifestyle change, I didn’t get sick once during the entire school year! We even had two horrible strains of the flu come through our school this winter, and I was healthy throughout both. I feel that eating well, drinking water, and staying active really aided my health this year.
School days are long, and we know many teachers continue to work after the bell rings. When you’re finally done for the day, how do you relax?
I enjoy meal prepping and cooking, listening to audiobooks, going for a walk or bike ride with a friend, diffusing some oils–basically anything with peppermint at night–, doing something creative, like hand lettering, and planning my travels. Travel is my biggest passion, so I really enjoy planning my different adventures throughout the year. Best of all, I found ways to share that passion with my students; I will be taking a group of them to Europe next summer! Although it may not be completely relaxing, giving myself something fun to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated throughout the school year.