We all experience stress in our lives and varying levels of it fluctuate throughout our days.
For teachers, stress is a daily part of the job and not all of it is unhealthy. Sometimes, stress helps us perform better.
However, job-related stress that overwhelms us is a big field of red flags that are sign-posting a whole host of problems all screaming at us.
If we ignore the signs then stress-related illnesses come knocking on our door along with anxiety, depression and burnout.
Teachers are generally a very caring and compassionate lot who work damn hard and who put others first. But this can backfire because some people put themselves last.
We’ve all got to be honest with ourselves and ask whether we are doing too much for too long.
The working week is busy and over a term it can floor many a good teacher. But who are we trying to impress?
Do we want a legacy as a stress cadet and a burnt out teacher that couldn’t cope?
If your school work is getting the better of you then it’s time to be proactive and act by putting number one first.
Here are some things you can do:
- Talk to a therapist, counsellor, or faith leader
- Enlist the support of your friends and family
- Talk to trusted colleagues
- Take a medical leave of absence
- Change your hours from full-time to part-time
- Request a change in work duties and be relieved of some responsibilities
- Look for a more suitable position elsewhere
- Journal, write and blog how you’re feeling and what’s happening to you
- Improve your nutrition and hydration
- Take up yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or other contemplative practices
- Pay more attention to your sleep hygiene
Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you a few ideas.
If you are up to your neck in high levels of stress and in the midst of burnout then recognising that is the first real step. You’ve got to be honest, come clean and say to yourself, “Me first!”
There is no shame in saying it’s all getting too much. It can be reversed but not of you keep soldiering on.
When we are stress cadets then we’ve got to be kind to ourselves and make changes to decrease the pressure.
Self-care, self-compassion and self-love are so vital to our wellbeing. Being in control is key because it empowers you, it boosts you and your mind, body, spirit, and soul will thank you for it.