As a teacher, you likely know the feeling: one minute everything is fine and the next you feel like you’re about to snap. Whether it’s a student who just won’t stop talking, or paperwork that just doesn’t seem to end, there are many things that can cause stress in the teaching profession. In this article we will discuss 10 of the best ways to reduce this stress and stay healthy and happy. Keep reading for more information!
1. Prioritize your needs
Prioritizing your workload means not taking too much work. It means taking on what’s most important and delegating other work to your support staff. If help is not available, prioritize what must be done first. This will reduce both your exhaustion and stress levels. Work smarter, not harder.
2. Find Out What Causes Your Stress
You can write down the triggers, like a situation that leads to stress and exhaustion and identify one or two strategies that can calm you down. For example, breathing techniques or walking can help you calm down. You can only manage your frustration by focusing on what you can control, so take the time to focus in on what is specifically frustrating you.
4. Take That Needed Break
Everybody needs a break. As a teacher, you should not try and skip the break times that the management has put in place. Many teachers miss lunch breaks to catch up with class activities. Taking a break helps you nourish your body and mind. Eat well and take a walk during your break. This will help keep your energy levels up and improve your mood.
4. Set Realistic Targets
Note down your To Do List for each day. Realistic targets help you work systematically and put in place a manageable workload that you can complete within a given time.
5. Practice The Stop Method
The STOP method allows you to become aware of your surroundings and helps calm your racing thoughts. When you feel anxious, stuck on autopilot, or distracted, you should practice the STOP method. For example, when your schoolwork starts feeling overwhelming, just STOP and notice what’s around you, the choir in the next room or the trees outside for about 5 minutes. Or, talk to a friend or co-worker you trust when they are ready to listen to you. Then proceed with your task with more intention and clarity.
6. Take Up Meditation
Meditation significantly affects your body's health and helps you battle your stress. Meditation helps reduce the production of cytokines which promotes inflammation in your body due to stress, bringing back your body to balance. Yoga is also very good for relaxing your mind and body.
7. Try Journaling
A stressed teacher has heavy emotional baggage. Start by journaling down the negative feelings that have taken over your mind. Journaling will help you clear your mind of the negative thoughts and create space for positive reviews. When you journal down your thoughts, it enables you to articulate your experience, and validate your feelings as you discover the reason for the stressful thinking.
8. Know When to Say 'No'
As much as you want to help your students or your co-workers, you don't want to get exhausted by doing. Remember that it’s okay to say no and that refusal is not downright rejection. Whenever you feel exhausted, you can always recommend someone else to help them. There will be less stress on yourself when you stay true to yourself.
9. Learn To Forgive Yourself
You are human and not perfect, and you are bound to make mistakes. It is okay to want to do things right, but when you dwell on trying to be a perfect teacher to your students, it can toll your self-esteem. Striving for perfection may lead to burnout because when you make a simple mistake, you will being self-critical. Learning to cope with imperfections helps you reduce your work-related stress. Accepting that you are not a supernatural being, and that errors are part of life, will make you feel lighter and less responsible.
10. Find Your Work/Life Balance
It would help if you thoughtfully organized your schedule to enjoy yourself. You are should develop a life outside of the school environment. Avoid taking school work home, which makes you extend your sleeping time. This makes you less well rested and more exhausted and stressed. Instead, create a boundary so that your school schedule does not overflow into your out-of-school life. Invest in yourself and your self-care routine. The best teacher self-care subscription boxes are curated with the teacher in mind. Subscribe to Teacher Care Crate; a monthly care package filled with feel-good items to make your teacher-day just a little brighter!
Being a teacher brings with it a lot of challenges which can lead to being overly stressed. We hope that these tips will help you reduce the amount of stress in your life. If you know of other tips that work, feel free to share them in the comments below. When you start letting go of what you cannot control, and accepting less accountability, it is the beginning of forgiving yourself and feeling better. So remember to be lenient on yourself, and just do your best!