5 Simple ways for Teachers to de-stress
Teaching is a rewarding yet demanding career. With long hours and a heavy workload, it's easy to fall prey to teacher burnout. One way to avoid this is to make sure you give yourself time to destress and step away from the classroom, both figuratively and literally.
We use the term de-stress, but do we really know what it means? De-stressing means “to release bodily or mental tension.” Preventing a build-up of stress and tension can avoid negative impacts on our physical and mental health. De-stressing is not limited to the classroom or the teaching industry but can also be used in an individual’s personal life for stress management.
Why is destressing important?
It’s important for teachers to learn different ways to cope with work stress to build resilience and be in the best mind frame for their class. Leeds Beckett University completed a study that showed that 77% of teachers believed their mental health was impacting the mental health of their students. Another 85% of teachers agreed that bad mental health was having a direct impact on lesson planning.
Teachers have a huge impact, not only on themselves but on their colleagues and students of all ages. Learning to manage stress and unwind is not only important for teachers but people within all industries and professions.
Let’s unpack why de-stressing is important for yourself as a teacher. We have gathered five helpful tips that you can try to de-stress during the term break or even in the classroom. These will ensure you can return to the next school term well-rested and resilient.
5 Tips on how to de-stress
1. Don’t pick up that pen!
I know every part of you is itching to pick up your pen and get marking. To use the time you have off to get a head start on next term or even catch up on the last. But trust us when we say, take time to focus on yourself and unwind from the crazy term. We promise those papers will be there when you get back!
2. Be Social
Prioritise time with friends and family. Research shows that socialising increases a hormone that decreases anxiety levels and makes us feel more confident in our ability to cope with stressors. It can be hard to coordinate a time for a social calendar during the school term so make the most of this time to be able to see the people you love.
3. Make a list - You know you want to!
We all know teachers love creating lists! And it makes more sense when science says that creating a daily to-do list can help reduce anxiety! Make a list of the things you want to do (not school or classroom related) over breaks, and see them as mini goals, not commitments. It can include taking the dog on an afternoon walk or meeting friends for lunch. Plan your day so you can create your own structure and mark off the activities once they are done.
If you feel stress and tension in your body, you might want to assess your stress levels and figure out what is the root cause and what would be the best way to ease it. Do you need to be more organised with lesson planning? Or do you need to give yourself some tender love and care?
5. Stress-Relieving Activities
You’ve probably heard it all before but stress-relieving activities such as journaling and deep breathing are wonderful tools to implement during term break to reset. These activities can also be used in the classroom when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Use this time to figure out what works for you so you can bring productive techniques into the classroom and prevent a build-up of stress and burnout.
Things to take away
It’s important to note that taking the time off you need and deserve does not make you any less of a great and wonderful teacher. Everyone needs a chance to rest and de-stress. Following these five steps can help encourage you to make the most of your time off and return refreshed and resilient.
If you need further support for stress and work-related burnout, please remember to talk to a trusted friend, family member or professional.
Want some helpful resources? Our Smart & Safe series covers content in the Health and Physical Education and the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculums. These secondary resources will not only teach your students about de-stressing and looking after their well-being but will re-teach you as well!