Teacher Stress and Burnout
We all have those types of days where stress happens and teacher stress is the worst. Teacher stress and burnout are the number one cause of educators leaving the field and pursuing careers elsewhere. However, it is possible to combat teacher stress with some easy stress management tools.
Combat Teacher Stress by Doing Something For Yourself
This is one of my favorite ways to combat my daily stress, but very few people have the time to do something for themselves. Not true. I am a HUGE believer in you make time for what you WANT to make time for.
Start today by penciling it into your schedule/calendar, put it as a reminder or event on your phone, set a reminder on Alexa, whatever it may be that will remind you to do something nice for yourself. Let’s be truly honest, if you don’t do something nice for yourself, who is?
It doesn’t have to be something extremely extravagant either. I mean…if that is your style then you do you. However, it could be something super simple and easy.
Here are my favorite things I like to do for myself to reduce my teacher stress:
- Paint my nails.
- Get my lashes done.
- Read a book.
- Watch a Hallmark movie under a cozy blanket.
- Some retail therapy.
- Create products.
Take Time to Decompress
I don’t know how many times I used to come home during my first few years of teaching and just get so irritated with my husband over the smallest things. It wasn’t even his fault because I was holding onto something that happened during the day and I was unknowingly projecting it on him. That isn’t good for anyone.
Now, I use my drive home as my decompression time. I turn off the radio and talk it out. I even have a notepad in my car that I write down my ideas for what might work tomorrow or my thoughts on the situation. It truly helps me to be less stressed when I walk through my front door so that I can have a relaxing night with my family.
Set aside 5-10 minutes after school to decompress. You don’t have to do any yoga poses unless you want to, but just have some time when you talk your day out. You can do it alone, with colleagues, or your significant other whatever makes you feel the best. Trust me you will feel much better and be able to think through the situation with a clear head.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of excuses: I don’t have time, I’m too busy, I have kids, I have to make dinner…… Listen, I am right there with you. I have a 2 year old, three dogs, and dinner that won’t make itself no matter how many times I’ve wished for that to happen.
I’m not saying you need to add an hour of exercise on top of your other responsibilities. Going back to what I said before about you making time for what you WANT to make time for, I will schedule in my exercise time daily. I am not working on setting any personal records, but I do try to work off at least 100-200 calories during my ride. Sometimes that happens in 20 minutes, other times it takes me 30 minutes. However, I never exercise longer than 30 minutes because I have other items scheduled on my calendar too.
The most important thing is to find a type of exercise that you love. It will feel less like work if you enjoy your exercise.
Take a Mental Health Day
I have learned this stress relief a little late in my career, so I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you can learn from my mistake. Mental health days are necessary for every teacher.
I used to believe that I HAD to be there for my students every single day. When I got sick I would somehow muster up the strength to make it to work. I couldn’t bear the thought of my kids having a substitute or totally destroying my classroom while I was at home. I know that some of you Amy be in this same situation.
Listen to me. Your classroom will still be there when you get back tomorrow or the next day. Your kids might have acted like the rules didn’t apply to them, but you will get them back on track. The substitute might not have gotten all the lessons/activities completed, but you will get to it. Your students will be happier if their teacher is happy.
If you are dragging it to make it to the weekend, give yourself some grace, take a day off, reset, and hit the ground running tomorrow. It will all work out.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Remember how you used to feel all jittery and ready to go the night after you got all that Halloween candy? What if you tried doing that now? Yeah, you might end up with a bellyache or worse. So, why are we still eating the wrong types of food?
Our bodies need a balanced diet in order to keep us in top performance. I know my teaching/classroom would be a totally different setup if I ate chips, fast food, and drank a pop for lunch every day. I now pack my lunch the night before and make sure to have a protein, fruit, veggies, and a carb in there to keep my body going.
Spend Time with People You Love
This is so important. One of the best ways to combat teacher stress for me is to be surrounded by my husband and little girl. I love coming home after a long day and cuddling with them on the couch.
My little one is currently loving all things Paw Patrol and all types of books. As soon as we get home so runs into her room, picks several books from her library, and sits on the couch or floor and has me read to her. Personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We all have those special people in our lives, the people we call/text/or visit when something good is going on or we are going through a tough time and need some guidance. Find your people and spend some time with them. It will make you feel so much better.
Combat Teacher Stress by Making Sunday a Rest Day
Just like the Rascal Flatts song, Mayberry “Sunday was a day of rest”. How did we ever get away from that. In my life, I have always rested on Sunday. I will try to get all my work, errands, and chores done on Saturday and just take it easy on Sunday to prepare for the week.
I know what you are thinking: I can’t get everything done on Saturday. It may not be possible for everyone, I get that. However, at least give yourself an hour before bed to just relax and reset for the upcoming week. It is so important to do that for your overall health and wellness.
I hope you take this list and implement some if not all of my strategies to help you combat teacher stress. You don’t have to do them all at once, just take one and try it out. I can’t wait to hear about your stress relievers too so be sure to comment below.