Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? The awareness month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness on the impact of stress. It’s the perfect time to talk about stress, its effects and open up about our mental and emotional health with friends, families, colleagues, and professionals.
Most teachers and education staff know that stress is inevitable. Papers stack up, behaviour management can be challenging and lessons need to be planned. However while stress is inevitable, how you respond to it can spell the difference between burning out and regaining control! Have a read of our top tips on how to beat teacher stress!
Identify the root of your stress
The first step to beating your teacher stress is to get to the root of the cause! Being aware of what causes your stress gives you the foundations to effectively reduce and manage it. Try to identify the specific activities, patterns and situations that leave you feeling stressed or emotionally drained. This could be something as small as your commute into work or your lack of sleep which could be helped with small changes. Alternatively it could be something on a larger scale, such as an Ofsted inspection, in which you need to find some coping mechanisms to help you out.
Prioritise your workload
It’s important that you set yourself healthy boundaries with your workload in order to stop yourself from taking on too much. Although it can sound cliche, writing lists of tasks for the day is really useful in helping you to effectively prioritise your tasks. At the beginning of your morning, write yourself a list of all the things that need doing throughout the day. Then, number them in the order of importance (and stick to it!). Checking them off as you go along will help to give you a sense of achievement and spur you on.
It’s also important when prioritising your workload to remember that it is OK TO SAY NO! You won’t always be able to fit in what others are asking you to do and it’s really important that you sit back and consider how your stress levels would be impacted by taking on extra work. There is no harm in delegating either – this can make a real difference to your levels of stress and exhaustion!
Nobody knows the saying better than a teacher – ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. It’s as true for you as it is your students! You need to delegate time to plan and prepare for your working days. Feeling rushed and unprepared can lead to making mistakes and feeling much more stressed than required.
Talk to someone
No matter how long you have been teaching or working in education, there are times when we all need help or some support. Whether it be a friend, family member, colleague or a professional, it is important to share how you are feeling. Talking about it not only offloads some of the anxiety and stress but also provides the opportunity for people to give you advice and tips on how to manage it.
Most schools will have a wellbeing system in place for teaching staff – utilise it! You will be surprised at the amount of colleagues feeling the same as you.
Make time for YOU
Teaching is a career that can so easily become consuming (often without you even noticing). It is important to make time for yourself to avoid being overwhelmed. Schedule time in your diary to do something that benefits you and makes you feel good! Whether this be connecting with nature, taking up a new hobby or planning a day out with your friends – anything focused on you is guaranteed to make you feel great! Try to schedule at least 30 minutes of ‘you’ time into your days.
Be kind to yourself
The best way to beat that teacher stress? Remember to be kind to yourself! Teachers are often prone to perfectionism and often feel that they aren’t doing enough, or that their mistakes are magnified because of the importance of their job. Feelings of stress cannot change the past and can affect the present by draining your energy. Be kind to yourself, you are already enough and you are doing amazing!