As the new school year approaches, teachers are enjoying their last indulging activities--reading for enjoyment, sleeping in, relaxing at the beach or the patio, using their last days to re-energize themselves for the upcoming school year. Without a doubt, teachers have used their summer wisely and are now preparing to get their classrooms ready, attend meetings, form work committees, meet students and parents, attend professional development sessions and the list goes on. Yet, in the midst of all the preparation, the once relaxed teacher is now stressed. Teachers should be revitalized from their time off; however, the beginning of the school can be stressful.
If you have been on an airplane, then you are familiar with the saying, “In case of emergency, put on your oxygen mask first, then assist others.” As teachers, we tend to help others before we help ourselves, and think that putting ourselves first is just not a priority. An article from Education Week entitled "How Teachers’ Stress Affects Students: A Research Roundup" by Sarah D. Sparks discusses how teachers with stress had students with stress and had less effective teaching strategies. This article is just one of many that shine a light on the damaging effects of stress.
A great resource about stress comes from the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. This center developed posters which provide straightforward information about stress and recommendations to reduce stress. Here is a sample of the information.
Stress can be a powerful dilemma which can manifest in a plethora of symptoms. A few warning signs of stress are feeling tense, lack of interest, fatigue, and racing thoughts.
Here are some simple things you can do to become a happier, stress-free you.
1. Positive Statements –move away from negative thoughts. Example: I put forth my best effort into this project
2. Deep Breathing – inhale slowly through the nose hold the breath then exhale slowly through your mouth at least 3 times a day.
3. Me Time –done regularly. Example: taking a walk, have a spa day, or working in the garden
Let’s start the new school year off with the right mindset in regard to health wellness. Being proactive about stress allows educators to make their own health care a priority, thus allowing them to be more successful in their teaching career.