Teachers cite stress as the major challenge of the profession.
A survey I sent out recently confirmed (still time for you to contribute here) this and tht the stress comes from so many angles. Instead of dealing with each source of stress one by one a general plan for dealing with stress is the best way to start.
Below, 10 inspiring have shared from their heart, with you, how they tackle stress as teachers.
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Vicki’s advice for teacher stress is:
My biggest secret is my “bleary-eyed” routine that I do first thing I roll out of bed– pray and read my Bible and then I often journal.
To me, I take all those worries to God in prayer and ask for wisdom. I usually pray through my day and ahead into things I have worried about and then just let them go and focus on doing the work not stressing about it. This has been my daily habit consistently for the last 8 years or so. I cannot express how much it helps! Then I blog or run 2 miles- depending on the morning and get ready to go teach! I do start the day around 5 am but that is awesome!
This is going to sound really simple, but for me, the most effective way to fight stress is to talk to someone about it, especially if it’s someone who knows something about the stuff you’re dealing with.Too often we all walk around trying to “handle it all” and appear as though we have it all together, admitting that you are struggling and being willing to show your vulnerabilities is so important for cultivating relationships, and strong relationships are a key component of a healthy life. Just telling a colleague that you need to talk will, by itself, immediately start to relieve some stress.Then, when you can get some things off your chest and have another person hear you out, you’ll be able to put things into perspective. Sometimes you’ll find a solution, but other times you’ll just ease some of the pressure. We need each other!
This idea comes from my book, Ditch That Textbook. Choose to cheat. There are so many important things we want to accomplish and not enough hours to do them. We often do the urgent at the expense of the important but not so urgent. When I get busy and work “overtime,” I cheat my family and myself.Many of us as educators have teaching as part of our identity. But it doesn’t have to be our whole life. It shouldn’t be. We HAVE to cheat. It’s impossible not to cheat something when we have more to do than hours in the day. We have to choose where we will cheat instead of letting it choose us. I’ve found that taking control of that aspect of life management has given me a huge amount of peace.
My advice is twofold; find your essentials and learn to say no. As teachers, we so often want to do and be everything for everyone, and yet, to preserve our own balance, this is simply not possible.So I have learned to invest time in what I deem most essential in our classroom and to say no those things that don’t. It turns out that when I don’t offer up my help, someone else always does. We must learn to value our own time so that we can protect the time we have with students, as well as our own families.
Years ago I was lucky enough to work with a man who had worked with Gandhi in the fight for Indian independence. He told me, “Larry, the key to Gandhi’s success was that he looked at every problem as an opportunity, not as a pain in the butt.” Keeping that advice in mind is my best advice for dealing with stress, and dealing with life in general.
My advice for educators looking to slash stress is to carve out time to “decompress” on their way home from school. Maybe it’s as simple as parking their car at the furthest spot in the lot so there is a longer walk before heading home. Or choosing to listen to a podcast on a train ride home that has nothing to do with your work day. Although these sound simple they can make a big difference from leaving stress at school and calming down on the way home.