Social Self-Care: The Necessity of Turning Outward

Social Self-Care: The Necessity of Turning Outward

Nalanda Ray (Amity University, Kolkata, India) and Anindita Majumdar (Woxsen University, Hyderabad, India)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2334-9.ch004
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In a world dominated by augmented reality (AR) and hyper-digitization, the education system is on the verge of revolution. However, this rapid change has come at the expense of the pillars of knowledge-providers (i.e., educators). Based on past literature reviews, this chapter identifies the predominant sources of stress and declined well-being of teachers. These include the wave of AR, the COVID-19-triggered online transformation of classroom teaching, and the increasing diversity within classrooms. Their impact has been studied under two classifications—declined personal (reduced self-efficacy and accelerated stress) and social well-being (isolation and alienation). This chapter proposes the ‘Me Within We' model of social self-care to enable teachers to experience a high level of well-being by fostering belongingness through empathic relationships and the establishment of group identity. Future researchers are urged to empirically investigate the holistic efficacy of various dimensions of educator self-care—including social, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
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As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. -Maya Angelou

The significance of self-care transcends the benefits which are yielded by just one individual. Instead, it has a ripple effect on a macro-level. Broadly speaking, self-care refers to the act of looking after one’s own well-being — which is an optimal amalgamation of their psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social domains. In a world now dominated by hyper-digitization, there is an increase in the number of potential stimuli that could affect one’s health and well-being. Added to this, some of today’s biggest companies are now aggressively investing in augmented reality (AR), such as Facebook’s recent $10 billion backing into its AR venture (Wilton, 2021). To adapt to these changes in society, the education system is rapidly modifying itself to shape into these technologies. Although they may prove to have multiple advantages for a classroom environment, it is inevitable that they cumulatively add on to the number of modalities that teachers and educators will have to adapt to fast. This could potentially increase their stress and detrimentally affect their well-being due to the constant need to cope with the constant transitions in their environment (Tzima et al., 2019). While the world may not be slowing down any time soon, it is, therefore, crucial to focus on resilience-building and self-care among teachers.

Self-care among educators and teachers has always been essential — especially because it stretches far beyond the outlined 9 to 3:30 job (Steele, 2018). The irony lies in the fact that the job description of teachers is not restricted to teaching. If it were to be simply teaching, the profession of teachers could be unequivocally replaced by education companies such as Khan Academy and BYJU’s. However, the role of educators covers the vast sea of teaching, mentoring, care-taking, and honing a child’s emotional, physical, social, and cognitive well-being (UNESCO). Furthermore, with awareness surrounding teenage suicide increasing, educators have the additional role of monitoring their student’s emotional welfare and their vulnerabilities, and risk of suicidal tendencies and ideation. With educators’ burnout increasing for these reasons, it not only proves to have a detrimental effect on their well-being but also on that of their students and dependents.

As the term focuses on the ‘self’, people often overlook the necessity of turning outward for internal fulfillment. To address this area of concern, the primary focus of this chapter is on social self-care. The reason for this may be attributed to the undying and everlasting salience that one’s social world holds over them. Canadian-American psychologist Paul Bloom once said that “humans are social beings, and we are happier, and better when connected to others”. Therefore, considering that our social world lays the brick and mortar of personal development, self-care and reassurance, educators require consistent societal reinforcement to sustain their well-being. While psychological and physical self-care may revolve around building personal resilience, social self-care ensures that this resilience is psychologically sustainable via an educator’s environmental stimulus. Especially in a profession that deals with the sustenance of an entire generation’s current and future mental health, professional, and personal success, it is of utmost salience for society to bring its attention to the well-being of educators.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Well-Being: One’s feelings of belongingness and content by being a part of social groups and/ or by establishing positive and meaningful social relationships.

Burnout: A body’s feeling of exhaustion and fatigue due to prolonged exposure to different kinds of stressors. These could be emotional, physical, social, or psychological stressors.

Augmented Reality: A technology using which reality can be modified by including additional digital sensory stimuli like sounds and visuals.

Social Self-Care: The act of taking care of one’s own wellbeing through maintaining positive social relationships and by establishing meaningful connections and developing one’s social identity.

Self-Care: The act of taking care of one’s own wellbeing by promoting their mental, physical, social, psychological, and spiritual health.

Diversity: In the context of this chapter, it refers to the cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic variations of students within classroom environments.

Personal Well-Being: One’s sense of self-satisfaction with their own existence.

Isolation: The state of being alone and cut off from others.

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