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.
And teachers don’t need to get better at managing their workload..teachers need a more manageable workload! That being said, let’s work on the part we can control right now.
Our health and well-being…
For the sake of teachers’ health and well-being (and the sake of the students they teach), it is imperative that we have some 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: You have permission to take care of your mental well-being! 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:
1. Take time to focus on your breathing.
Every little bit helps, even if it’s just for 30 seconds during the school day. I use a 4-4-4 count. I breath in for 4, hold for 4, release for 4.
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!
2. 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 it will brief relief from the classroom, from the workload, from the students and will make all the difference. It’s one of the top 5 happiness habits!
3. 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!
Bonus Tip: Consider the Happy Academy.
We give educators real life skills to manage stress, develop meaningful relationships, and create more joy in their lives. We offer over 50 social and emotional ready-made lessons on-demand, and all at your disposal. This program is specifically designed for you to do as much or as little as you want. Sign up for wait-list here. This program starts in June.
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 the one influencing and impacting students 180 days a year! 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!