Teachers – we see you. We see the hard work, dedication and boundless enthusiasm you put in to doing the best by your students. We welcome over 400,000 young people to stay with us each year, many of them on school trips, and we see first-hand the stresses and strains, and the joys and delights you experience with your class.
You are legends. But even legends need a break sometimes. This #InternationalStressAwarenessWeek, we want to give you a few simple ideas for coping with teaching stress.
Rest and relaxation
Coping with teaching stress is hard. But when you’re starting to feel stressed, stepping away from the situation and taking a breath for a moment can help clear your mind and refocus your energy. However, nothing beats actual rest to calm your emotions and reduce stress. Try and make time every day for a few moments of quiet, whether it’s a warm bath when you’ve finished marking, a chapter of a good book before bed, or just watching the world go by with a hot cup of tea, it all helps rebalance negative emotions and refresh your mind.
Talking to trusted people
When you’re caught up with teaching stress, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone. Always remember that there are people out there who care about you and want to help. Try to talk to trusted colleagues, friends or family about the things that are stressing you out. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ really does ring true, and simply by talking about your feelings can help take the weight off your shoulders. If you struggle to open up, going for a long walk with a friend can often help get the conversation going, as well as releasing mood-boosting endorphins.
Sometimes it is easier to talk with a stranger, though, and there are plenty of people out there waiting to listen. The Education Support Partnership has a telephone support line for teachers with access to coaches and counsellors 365 days a year. Contact them on 08000 562 561.
Doing something you enjoy
Making time for a hobby works wonders for coping with teaching stress. Your schedule may seem far too busy to even consider fitting anything else in, but it’s surprising what you can do. 5 minutes of yoga when you wake up in the morning, cooking something a little more ambitious for dinner, or just going out for a walk or a run for half an hour can make all of the difference to your mental health.
Taking some time away from your work can also help you be more productive and enthusiastic when you go back to it, which in itself helps put you in a more positive mindset.
Finding stress-busting techniques that work for coping with teaching stress will always be a bit of trial and error, and what works for one person may not work for another. Support looks different for us all, but finding positive coping strategies for our mental health has huge benefits for us both now and way into the future.