Teaching is a profession that requires copious amount of energy, stamina and mental agility. Stress in a fast paced, busy job is normal and to some extent expected. However chronic job stress can lead to burnout, characterised by feelings of exhaustion, frustration, tension and/or depression. Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial to a long, sustainable and fulfilling teaching career. Here are some tips to help get your year off to a healthy start and keep you feeling confident.
If you feel you’re lacking in energy and struggling to get past fourth period starting an exercise regime might be just what you need. Although increasing your physical activity may seem counterintuitive at first, you will soon begin to notice your stamina and energy levels rise. As you become fitter you increase your endurance levels making it easier to get through the day. Exercising also stimulates the release of endorphins (feel good hormones) that will help you to combat school blues.
Drink More Water
You know this one and you’ve probably given the same advice to your students! For our brains to work effectively we need to remain hydrated – if you wait till your thirsty you are already dehydrated. Drinking enough water can be easy to forget, particularly in the colder months. Remind yourself by always carrying a bottle with you and aim to get through the recommended eight glasses a day. If you suffer from headaches, drinking water can also help to reduce the severity and occurrence of them.
Pack Healthy Lunches
..and don’t skip them! Preparation is key here. When you’re run off your feet and hungry making healthy choices is not always the easiest thing to do. Help yourself out by packing lunch the night before. Keep some nuts and fruit on standby for a quick pick-me-up and if possible try to avoid staff room cookies and chocolates. While a sugar fix might feel like the best option at the time it will only lead to a sugar crash that will leave you feeling worse for it. Click here for some super easy and healthy lunch ideas.
Invest in High Quality Comfortable Shoes
When you’re on you feet all day it is absolutely essential that you take care of them! Here’s a great article on some high-quality (not to mention super cute and stylish) shoes that will keep you in top from head to …toe!
Block a half hour of unplanned time in your planner and resolve to not do anything work related. Take tasks that you would usually multitask and do just one. Make lunch a priority every day and endeavour to eat mindfully and purposefully. Turn your phone off at an allotted time in the evening and create space to consciously and deliberately slow down. Write Parkinson’s Law somewhere you will see it often as a way to remind yourself to set yourself limits and work within them – “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”
No amount of coffee will replace sleep. Sleep deprivation is a big concern for many teachers causing irritability, forgetfulness, lower tolerance of even minor annoyances, and less efficient organisation and planning. Have a look at this helpful Teachers Guide to Sleep and learn how to get more restorative rest into your schedule.