How to Find Relief Inside and Outside the Classroom
Reports suggest that 90% of elementary teachers experience high levels of stress. And the news is much the same for educators at other levels.
For the sake of teachers’ health and well-being (and the sake of the students they teach), it is imperative that stress-relieving techniques are practiced inside and outside the classroom.
You might think, hey, every job has its stresses. That’s life. But teacher stress is based on a unique set of circumstances.
Think about what the average teacher deals with on a daily basis: high-stakes exams, overcrowded classrooms, grading, administrative paperwork, parent/teacher meetings, department meetings, faculty meetings, behavioral issues, requirements for special needs’ students, pressures from students’ parents, an unsupportive community, anxiety over school reform. The list goes on and on … and on.
Teachers assume a wide range of roles to support school and student success. A teacher is a resource provider, instructional specialist, curriculum specialist, classroom supporter, mentor, school leader, data coach, parent, nurse, counselor, disciplinarian, a catalyst for change, and a learner—all to 25-30 students.
It’s no wonder that teacher stress is such a concern. Stress leads to burnout—which can lead to the loss of some excellent teachers!
So, that’s why I’m providing this reminder: Take care of yourself! I have my own personal tips and tricks for combating stress (my “secret” potion, Rescue Remedy, is just one of them!). But there are many ways to do it—you just have to find what works for you. Here are three ideas to get you started in the battle against teacher stress:
- Take time to focus on your breathing. Every little bit helps, even if it’s just for 10 seconds during the school day. Or try taking five minutes at home. Seclude yourself in a room where no one can bother you (I’ve found the bathroom works quite well), and just breathe. Of course, your head will be full of a million thoughts, but it doesn’t matter. Just concentrate. Just breathe. You’ll be amazed at the results!
- Get outside, and get active! Take a five minute walk during the school day, maybe during prep or lunch. Five minutes may not sound like a lot, but that brief relief from the classroom, from the workload, from the students will make all the difference.
- Make time for your friendships. The demands of your workday may leave you feeling too tired to interact. But social relationships are so important to our happiness levels. So go to a movie, to dinner, play a round of golf, or just devote an hour to nourishing an important relationship. You’ll take that good feeling back to the classroom with you!
As teachers, we’re taught to make the students, the school, the lessons our priority. But your happiness and well-being are important, too. After all, you’re doing one of the most important jobs in the world. So, make sure sometimes YOU come first. You’ve earned it!
Be sure to help out your fellow teachers by leaving a comment below with your own ideas for stressing less!
(P.S. In addition to being an education consultant, I’m also a happiness coach. If you’re interested in more of my tips and tricks for living happier—and with less stress—check out my happiness blog and sign up for my inspirational “joy drops” emails!)