We all joke about how stressed we are, but if left ignored, stress can cause far deeper and more serious issues. And whilst all careers can be stressful, teaching can be exceedingly hard at times and around 80% of teachers complain about stress at work. We know that teaching is a very demanding and high intensity job and we’ve thought of ways to cope with the stress you may face.
Identify what the main causes of your stress are – These could range from pressure at work, a difficult class, an irritable parent or even personal problems at home. When you’ve identified those problems divide them into two sections, problems you have control over, and problems you have no control over. When you start analysing the stress factors you can control it may offer you a solution to at least some of your stress. Use our free resource to identify, cope and manage your stress here.
Make lists – This may sound cliché but there are very few things more satisfying than ticking off a list. Start your day by setting yourself achievable goals and as you complete them, check them off the list. You’ll realise how much you actually get through a day and will feel accomplished. Any tasks you don’t finish you can move onto the next list or you may realise it wasn’t even essential to complete!
Go about your routine – Stress is your body’s way of responding to change or pressure, if you go about your routines your body will find comfort in the familiarity this offers. Whether it’s a playlist you listen to on the way to work, ten minutes you set aside in the day to sit quietly, a hot beverage whilst at your desk, whatever you choose you will feel like you’ve regained control and it will ease the stress.
Get away for a bit – We all deal with stress differently but setting aside a few minutes to read, listen to calming music or go through some breathing exercises before taking on your next class will help. You can always try and implement it into your classes by setting aside time for activities such as quiet personal reading time.
Learn to say ‘No’ – Whilst it’s great to take part in extra-curricular activities it’s even more important to not burn yourself out. Whilst saying ‘yes’ to requests is the easy option, it may not always be the best one. Realise that you are more capable of making mistakes if you’re anxious. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to politely decline something if you know it’s more than you can handle.
Maintain a healthy balance – Sometimes you may have a habit of staying too long after work, learn to stick to your routine and not go home too late. Prioritise your workload for once you get home and learn to balance your private life with work. Also never underestimate a good night’s sleep!
Communicate – Whether it is with a fellow colleague, a boss, or a partner it’s important to not keep it bottled up, be honest and if you need help, ask for it. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Remember why you wanted to become a teacher in the first place and keep that passion. There is nothing more disheartening than resenting a job you once enjoyed. Just realise that by tackling the stress head on you’ll be able to enjoy your work that much more.
If you’re an education professional currently struggling with stress, please visit the Education Support Partnership website for support and advice. Furthermore, you can download and use our free resources for help with identifying, coping and managing stress in and outside of school.