With nearly 90% of all teachers experiencing moderate to high levels of stress it is very important that teachers use stress relieving techniques to improve both their career and their health. While stress is evident in any job, teachers seem to face increased levels of stress due to their unique circumstances. Think about what a teacher must deal with day in and day out…high stakes exams, overcrowded classrooms, grading tests, grading homework, grading classwork, administrative paperwork, meeting with parents, department meetings, faculty meetings, challenging students, angry parents, an unsupportive community, and the list goes on…
Without using stress relieving techniques, teacher stress can manifest itself in many ways including headaches, back pain, frequent illness, heartburn, anger, impatience, depression, eating disorders, and insomnia. If not addressed, these manifestations may likely turn into heart disease and hypertension. Stress can even damage memory and cognitive skills.
What’s worse is that teachers often don’t know how to handle their stress and therefore it comes as no surprise that nearly 50% of all teachers quit within their first five years.
Fortunately, there are many simple stress relieving techniques that teachers can use that will help improve both their health and their career.
Here are five stress relieving techniques:
1. Get exercise! Do NOT use the excuse that you don’t have time. You must make time. Make it part of your routine everyday. While it may be tough at first, you’ll quickly find yourself with more energy and you’ll be much more efficient at work.
2. Learn to say no. This can be quite difficult…especially as a new teacher. New teachers think they must say “yes” to everything in order to keep their job, but this can quickly lead to teacher burnout.
3. Join teacher discussion boards/forums. There are many teacher forums on the internet where teachers can not only vent their frustrations, but get real advice from real teachers who have experienced the same problems.
4. Think positive. In fact, don’t just think positive thoughts, but actually say them out loud. In the morning, or on your way to work, say positive things about your job, about your students, about your colleagues. You’ll be amazed at the impact that saying these things out loud can have on the rest of your day.
5. Cool down and take breaks. Teachers have a tendency to go straight through the day (and night) without taking a break. This is unhealthy and only adds to your stress level. Make sure to NOT work through lunch. Take that time to eat a healthy meal and talk to colleagues about things other than school. In other words let yourself take a mental break from the job during the day. Also, at the end of the school day, make a to-do list for the next day and then take ten minutes to relax and cool down with some other stress relieving techniques such as deep breathing exercises, stretching, or visualization.