Every educator experiences those moments where stress gets the best of you. You get hit with the unexpected meetings on top of the day to day preps, grades, PLC meetings and assessments. Then, you want to be a great teammate and offer help to your colleagues, but that small moment of help ends up turning into three hours, and you feel even more behind. We didn’t even mention the life and responsibilities outside of the school day.
I’ve been there and still have moments of feeling stressed out. Here are a few ways I reduce teacher stress.
- Exercise. Whether that is taking a nice walk throughout the day or a 30 minute jog around the park, get wearable technology and track your steps. Most start with 10,000 steps per day. Perhaps, try or Zumba. Research shows that exercise does reduce stress.
- Read and Write. I understand you already do this with lesson plans and reading student work, but this is personal. Jot down some of your goals you’d like to accomplish. Read that book you’ve been wanting to start. What about all of those blogs you have saved in your favorites? Yes, read them.
- Go to Sleep. I’m a night owl and will stay up until 2-3 am only to wake up at 5 am. That puts stress on yourself. Try for a strong 6 hours of sleep and consider growing it to 8 hours. One educator gets 7 hours of sleep in, but it isn’t consecutively. It’s a 2 hour nap once home from school before going to the 2nd job. Then, sleeping 5 hours after getting off.
- Reconnect With Friends. Whether it be for a drink or dinner, having a strong social support system has reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression and high blood pressure. The laughter, hugs, the belonging and encouragement helps reduce stress.
- Not Responding to Haters. We all have people in our lives who spew negative energy into the atmosphere. Some are close family and friends. I’ve realized when those moments happen, deflect the negative energy by not responding. Every battle isn’t worth fighting nor your attention. Fighting the haters everyday is stressful. Choose wisely.
- Give. On one stressed out day, I went for comfort food at a local fast food spot. After grabbing my food and driving off, I saw a homeless person on the corner needing support. I gave her my food. Instantly, my problems weren’t as big in the grand scheme of things. I felt great being a blessing to someone else.
- Planning and Prioritizing. Steven Keague states, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” I started to catalog how often I wasted time being unproductive. It was an epiphany. Instead of procrastinating and feeling the stress to complete tasks, I realized I could knock out 90-100% of the tasks, if I planned it out better. Having a calendar with a color coded key helped me stay organized. Whether it is a physical calendar in a notebook or a digital calendar, start there. After you’ve completed your tasks, make sure you cross it out! There’s science behind crossing off completed tasks.
What are ways you de-stress? Share your thoughts below.