The demands of working in a school can be very stressful. With a never-ending list of marking, preparation and parent’s evenings it can be very easy to neglect yourself and end up burning out by the time we get to this time of year.
There are four basic parts to a balanced lifestyle:
Although this is simple, often as teachers some of these parts are neglected and we spend more time on one such as work than others such as rest and friends. This is what leads to a burnout, and although simple it can be quite difficult to find a perfect balance between these four components. However here are some simple things you can incorporate into your life to reduce stress and prevent a teacher burnout.
Stressed while at school
If you find yourself feeling stressed while at school, there are a few two-minute strategies you can do to de-stressify yourself.
Take a moment to listen to your breathing and centre yourself.
Move around and get your blood moving.
Get outside for fresh air and notice the scenery around you.
Connect with family and friends
It can be very easy to neglect friends and take family for granted during times of stress. Here are a few simple ways to reconnect and refill your tank.
Share projects you are excited about with friends.
Arrange coffee dates (this won’t take more than a few hours and you’ll feel so much better afterwards, you’re never too busy for a coffee date).
Ring your parents (parents always make you feel better even about the worst situations).
Spend time with animals (if you have pets, spend some time with them. Also, it has been proven that petting animals reduces stress levels).
Take some me time
This is the one that most teachers neglect. There is always work to be done and family to tend to so it is important to take time out for yourself. here are a few favourite things teachers use to unwind, these are really simple but try and carve out a little time every evening to do at least one of these things.
Take the scenic route home.
Have a hot bath.
Listen to music.
Watch mindless television.
In times of stress it is easy to be consumed by your own life and the stresses it entails. A good way to calm the stress and prevent a burnout is to contribute to others. This can be something as easy as getting involved with local groups, activities or volunteering within your community. By being involved in something outside of your teacher bubble it allows you to forget those worries and enables you to contribute to something bigger than your own life.
How to identify if you are stressed and headed for a burnout with simple and easy ways to remedy it.
Are you juggling too many balls?
Often in life there will be times where there are multiple things needed to be done and simply not enough hours in the day. This can cause huge anxiety especially if there are deadlines attached.
How to fix it: Rather than panic over the long to-do list, categorise them into what must be done first and what can wait a little while. If you still have a long list that must be done by next week, try to sort out what is of the upmost importance.
What does your body need?
Listen to your body as it will always let you know what you need. More often than not you will ignore that stomach rumble to complete marking, have yet another coffee to get through your lesson planning or spend so long looking at a computer you give yourself a headache.
How to fix it: Your body gives you signals for a reason so don’t ignore it. To avoid burnout your body needs upkeep. Always have healthy snacks to hand to stop hunger pains. Plan out your lesson planning so that you aren’t working late into the night and get that well deserved night’s sleep. You won’t be any good to the students if you can barely keep your eyes open. Lastly make sure to take a 5-minute break away from the computer and step outside in the fresh air to avoid screen eyes and headaches.
What is causing your fatigue?
Do you end up leaving work every day feeling like your battery is drained? Do you feel physically exhausted, or sluggish?
How to fix it: There could be several reasons for your fatigue and often it is a case of trial and error but here are a few things to try.
- Exercise: often you feel sluggish and tired due to a lack of activity. As teachers you work nonstop but during the evening this could mean sitting down for quite a few hours. Any activity that isn’t teacher related like a jog or bike ride can clear your mind and reinvigorate you.
- Setting Boundaries: Your fatigue could be due to spreading yourself too thin. Set boundaries so that students and parents aren’t always messaging you and learn to say no to certain things.
- Take time out: This one is easy to forget, don’t forget to take time out for yourself to recharge your battery. Often taking a leisurely bath can be guilt ridden but remember, its important for you and your students to take care of yourself. So, don’t feel guilty and fill that tub up with bath bombs and essential oils.
Feel like there is never enough time?
Never feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day to complete your tasks or fit in basic human needs. Most teachers feel stressed due to work load and forgo basic things to complete tasks.
How to fix it: No matter how busy or stressed you are there will always be a 5-minute window. Take those 5-minute windows for you, whether it is to grab a snack, step outside in the fresh air, concentrate on breathing or even some gentle stretching or walking.
Although they seem minor just incorporating these things into your daily routine will enable you to be a better teacher and to avoid a teacher burnout.
Can you think of any other ways for teachers to prevent a burnout? If so, we would LOVE to hear from you so drop us a comment in the box below.