Looking for some ways to alleviate teacher burnout and manage the stress and work overload in education? Here are some stress management activities for teachers.
Four Stress Management Activities for Teachers
Workplace burnout may seem like the new buzzword lately. But it is a real problem and a disturbing trend that can lead to serious health issues. This is especially true for millennial workers. A Workplace Burnout Survey conducted by Deloitte found that 84 percent of millennials have experienced workplace burnout, compared to 77 percent among all respondents. Statistically speaking, you are likely to experience some form of unmanageable stress at your workplace that affects your life outside of work.
As a young teacher entering the classroom, I would often feel ashamed to admit that I couldn’t handle the workload. I would arrive to work early and stay late setting up lesson plans and grading tests.
My workload was so heavy, that most of my weekends were consumed by the job. I missed out on a lot of personal time with my family and friends and put unneeded strain on my relationships.
Are You Suffering Burnout?
Employee burnout is a syndrome that is defined as experiencing never-ending and unmanageable stress at work. If you feel excessively tired, irritable, demoralized and completely drained of energy at the end of the day, you are probably suffering from burnout. As a teacher, you may have been dealing with it for so long that you don’t even realize the signs anymore.
With overcrowded classrooms, unrealistic workloads and expectations, dealing with disruptive students and demanding parents, teachers are especially vulnerable to burnout. Left unchecked, burnout can lead to severe emotional stress, causing anxiety and depression as well as physical health issues too.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology finds that people suffering from burnout have been linked to higher than normal incidence of an irregular heartbeat. This condition leads to an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and death.
Impact on Students
It’s not only the teacher that suffers; the burnout impacts the students as well. Teachers in high-stress situations tend to have the poorest student outcomes. Feeling like you have failed to give your students the high-quality education that they deserve only compounds the weight of the stress you already feel.
If you are in a high-stress situation and at your wits’ end, all is not lost. Here are a few classroom management strategies you can use to help alleviate some of the stress and reduce your workload, while increasing your happiness.
Self-care is not selfish and is important to maintaining your emotional and physical health. Here are some ways to do this:
- When you see a break in the day, take it. Find a quiet space to collect yourself in a more mindful way.
- Use some breathing exercises to reduce your anxiety and practice meditation to declutter your mind. Some of the top athletes and most successful business leaders rely on mindfulness techniques – and so should you.
- If weather permits, take a brisk walk out doors. The fresh air will improve your mood and boost your energy.
- Don’t forget to eat a healthy lunch too. Falling into a trap of eating unhealthy, fatty food is bad for the body and mind.
If you are suffering from burnout, practicing teacher self care will help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Declutter Your Space
If you have been teaching for a few years, then you have probably already collected more stuff in your classroom than you really need, such as teacher gifts, stacks of papers, school supplies and confiscated contraband. All of these things are not only taking up space in your classroom, but in your mind too.
Decluttering using Marie Kondo tips
Marie Kondo, decluttering expert, and author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, believes we should only keep items that will truly spark joy in our lives. To successfully declutter your space, you need to make a plan to minimize and stick to it. Visualize how you want your working space to look, then discard or giveaway items you know you don’t want. Then ask yourself if the remaining items bring your joy.
According to Kondo, you’ll feel the answer calling out to you. If something truly brings you joy, your mood will be elevated and lighter.
Simplify Your Lesson Plan
Minimizing the stress in your life shouldn’t just apply to your surroundings. If your lesson plans are unorganized, complicated and too long, you should consider a process to streamline when and how you teach. Prioritize the learning your students need. Cut out redundant and unnecessary aspects of your lesson plans.
Use technology, software and apps that will automate and organize as much as possible. Websites such as Standardsplanner.com, Versal.com, and PlanbookEdu.com offer free and simple plans to make your life easier.
Limit Your Workload
Teacher burnout and work-life balance are two of the main reasons why teachers quit.
These are just some of the ways that you can begin to limit your workload:
- Leave work at school. Don’t take it home with you. For you to maintain a healthy work/life balance, you need to draw clear boundaries as to what you allow after work hours.
- Try not to check your email when you are not at work.
- Don’t volunteer for things you just cannot handle mentally and learn how to say no effectively. When you become more self-aware about how you respond to certain situations, you’ll know when to say when.
By implementing some of the ideas in this blog, you’ll be able to really evaluate your current workload, see what you need – and what you can offload.
Next Steps for More Stress Management Activities for Teachers
If you have enjoyed what you have read, you can find more tools, tips and testimonials at Teacher Career Coach to help you get started on your new journey. In my online course, you find out how to improve your resume skills, possible career paths for teachers, how to overcome negativity, and so much more.
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