Guest post by Anna-Kay — thank you!
As teachers we play many different important roles. We’re nurses, mathematicians, scientists, historians, meteorologists, and sometimes stand in mommies. We wipe tears, tie shoes, halt arguments or fights and must always keep it all together (and we do). We are practically real life superheroes! But what do we do on those days when it seems everything is falling apart? As with many superheroes, teachers often forget to take off their superhero cloaks and put on their bathrobes and fluffy slippers. Even superheroes become overwhelmed and must retire to their fortresses of solitude in search of methods to tame their stress. Here are some tips and tricks that have been successful for me when I feel I am being taken over by the stress monster.
For a picture…
Webster’s dictionary defines stress as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. The stresses in our lives often find their way inside our classroom. What has helped me in the past when I begin to feel stressed? Trying to identify the source. Identifying the source of stress can then help us move forward in finding ways to eliminate those stresses. For example, one moment in my life where I felt immense amounts of stress was the beginning of my time at Teachers College. Beginning my internship and preparing to delve into a classroom that was not my own – while also juggling a heavy courseload made me worry. But those challenges were not the source of my stress. As education majors we are accustomed to being in similar situations. I decided to think about why these tasks seemed daunting and it was then I discovered the source of my stress. I needed to better organize my time and use it wisely. I found that my lack of preparation led to feelings of anxiety, which led to feelings of stress.
Another technique that has helped me tackle my stress has been to reconnect with the purpose of each activity I complete. This may seem a little silly but it helps to remember why what you’re doing is important. Which serves as motivation and insight. Often I find that I become less stressed if I acknowledge that I am working hard through a tough time and there will be immense benefit in the result. Those benefits could be personal or could be reflected through the work of my students. If you’re like me, it’s difficult for you to contextualize doing any activity if there isn’t a clear end goal.
My last tip for stressed teachers is exercise! I don’t consider myself an exercise junkie by far but I truly believe that adding in 20-30 minutes of quick exercise either at the beginning or end of my day produces stress-relieving benefits. I find that when I exercise I sleep better and also have a lot more energy. Also, I am able to burn off some pent up steam that inevitably gets produced throughout our days as teachers. I am a happier person. Added bonus, you may find yourself building muscle!