Teaching is a difficult and stressful job for many individuals. On any given day, a teacher may have to deal with unruly students, difficult administrators and angry parents. Teachers need to find ways to handle the constant stress from their job. The following article examines five excellent methods teachers can use to reduce stress.
1. Always Have an Escape Plan
If you occasionally feel overwhelmed during class, prepare a few escape plans for future incidents. These plans can include simple ideas, such as repeating a calming mantra in your head. You can also take a few deep breaths and momentarily think about a relaxing location, including a favorite beach of hiking trail.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, ask your students to quietly read a book while you get some fresh air. A quick walk up and down the school’s hallway can help you clear your head and eliminate any feelings of stress. Once you’ve walked a few laps, you can return to class feeling refreshed and ready to proceed with your lesson plan.
2. Make Time for Yourself
Beyond your job, you probably have other obligations in your daily life, including those to your friends and family members. However, you need to make time in your life to do your own activities and enjoy a moment or two in solitude. Trying out a new hobby is a great way to motivate yourself to do something fresh. For example, taking a ceramics class at a community center will get you out of the house and may help you find a new passion.
Don’t neglect any of your old hobbies. If you’ve always enjoyed books, keep scheduling time for reading. You may have to occasionally sacrifice a social event or other obligation, but you will enjoy the break.
3. Exercise Frequently
Keeping a schedule of frequent exercise gives you a chance to have a little more time for yourself each day. You can use this time to run outside in your neighborhood or exercise with a weight machine in a gym. Heart-racing exercise encourages your body to release chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals reduce stress by helping you feel calm and happy.
Exercise also helps your mental health by removing you from the stress of work and daily life for a brief time. Even a brisk walk in the evening can help refresh your mind and help you think more clearly about a difficult situation.
4. Stay Organized
Staying organized helps you manage your paperwork and your lesson plans. Sometimes, even losing just one piece of paper can significantly impact your effectiveness in the classroom. Frantically searching for a lost document is an easy way to lose focus. Prevent these disasters from happening by spending extra time managing your papers. Create a good system for organizing your files into folders. You can also try using a planner to help you stay on schedule.
If you keep important files on your computer, be sure to create backups regularly. These backups can save your sanity if your computer breaks down.
5. Talk to Someone
Don’t keep your stress to yourself. Find a friend, work colleague or family member who is willing to listen to your thoughts and opinions. Your trusted confidants can even suggest a course of action when you have a particularly difficult problem. Striking up a friendship with a fellow teacher can give you an outlet for your work-related stress. You’ll quickly realize that other teachers are very familiar with the same stressful situations you are experiencing.
Teresa Causey is a middle school teacher and guest author at Top Colleges Online, where she contributed to the guide to the top colleges for online teaching degrees.