Whilst an immensely rewarding career, teaching can take its toll. Due to stressful factors such as heavy workloads, large class sizes and school budget cuts, education professionals can face mental health challenges.
75% of education staff have suffered a physical or mental health problem in the past two years, found Education Support. Symptoms including panic attacks, sleep struggles and concentration difficulties have seen 53% considering leaving teaching as a result.
Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to reduce work-induced stress and see you rediscover your passion for teaching.
Be forgiving of yourself and don’t dwell on past mistakes
Striving for perfection can be an origin of stress as it can lead to considering every slight slipup as a failure. Teachers suffer from this due to the importance of their role but dwelling on perceived imperfection can make people feel even worse over time. However, it is important to remember that you are enough and you deserve credit for your teaching efforts and achievements.
You may have dozens of things to do in a day and have no idea where to start, resulting in panic. Writing a list of these tasks can help you identify which order these can be done in and their importance, and you will feel a rush of relief when you get to cross them out once completed. It is also important to have the confidence to say ‘no’ when you have a lot to do, in order to prevent even more tasks piling on top of you.
Gentle exercises relieve your body of stress and can help to focus your attention away from your work for a short while. Walking and cycling don’t have to take up a lot of your time, whilst yoga and dance will see you put your concentration into something other than teaching.
Consider moderating smoking, alcohol and caffeine
Vices such as these allow for temporary relief but heavy consumption may cause more mental and physical damage in the long run. Look for alternatives you can replace them with that provide the same soothing or energising effects, such as breathing techniques and healthier eating.
Ask for help
Your colleagues are likely facing similar stresses to you and so can be a great, trusted friend to confide in your worries. Stress can be alleviated by simply sharing your problems with others and you will find that they may be able to find solutions to your issues.
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