September 28, 2020

How to Handle Stress As a Teacher

GoGuardian Team
An illustration of a teacher with her head in her hands at the front of a classroom

Many are called to the teaching profession; and, similar to most professions, stress is unavoidable. We often talk about the stress on students and parents, but not much focus is given to teachers in this regard. Often, papers pile up, lessons must be planned, and students act out. In conjunction, teachers must adjust to curriculum changes. Not to mention, the added stress of distance learning: getting students to sign in, stay engaged and on-task, and turn in their assignments...or having to develop different types of curriculum for both in-person and online students. Teachers, we feel for you! Here are 10 tips to help alleviate teacher stress.

1. Assess Your Stress Level

When stress overwhelms you, the first step is to assess the problem, observe your body’s reaction, and recognize your feelings. Determine if the source of your stress derives from something at work or external factors. If it is a problem caused at work, evaluate if it is minor or if it is a major issue that needs to be resolved. Regardless of how stressful it might be, identifying the problem and its depth helps put things in perspective. If several minor issues account for your stress, then try to tackle each one individually. You might not be able to solve all of them, but managing a few can be a fresh start.

2. Schedule Time to Respond to Your Stress

Take control of your situation by scheduling time in your routine to problem-solve ways to reduce your stress. For example, if advancements in technology are causing you stress, then set aside time in your schedule to educate yourself on the software or tools. Prioritizing this time and practicing problem-solving techniques to manage your stress can help build your confidence.

3. Establish Realistic Goals

As an educator, your days are composed of to-do lists. Sometimes these agendas create worry if a task is not accomplished on time or if it is never completed. To gain control and overcome these fears, establish realistic goals that you can accomplish with a realistic deadline. Feel empowered to alter your lists based on other events that occur outside of your control.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

Making lists of what you can and cannot control creates a sense of balance and brings peace. For example, you may not know if your contract will be renewed next year. As opposed to worrying yourself sick about uncertainties, be proactive and think positively. Engage in stress-reduction strategies, like meditation and breathing. Recognize your strengths as an instructor and as an individual.

5. Contact Your Colleagues for Advice

Your colleagues may be encountering similar work-related stresses and have advice on how to manage stress. Some institutions even offer support groups or forums. Sharing ideas among colleagues is an excellent way to establish trust, build relationships, and create a safe workplace environment.

6. Participate in Stress-Relieving Activities

When work is overwhelming, it is easy to forget about participating in stress-relieving activities. For example, journaling is a simple way to track your accomplishments. Recording your thoughts and reflecting on your past can be a safe haven. Whenever you review your previous days, weeks, or months, you can see how far you have come and begin to build your confidence and self-worth.

7. Prioritize Your Health, Family Time, and Quality Sleep

How you spend your time reflects what is important to you. Take care of yourself with daily exercise and healthy eating habits. Spend time with your family or friends to bring balance to your personal life. Finally, get quality sleep to manage your stress levels. The idea of sleeping less and working more is misleading, even under normal circumstances. Remember, everyone should try to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep per day to be productive.

8. Relax

Mindfulness exercises and peaceful environments are essential in schools; but, unfortunately, they are not always available. If you enjoy quiet tea time or lunch break, then incorporate it into your routine. Moreover, learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga and Tai Chi, allows your mental and physical elements to connect. Brain patterns are usually affected by underlying anxieties and irritabilities. Altering your location and participating in a relaxation technique can help you effectively react to stress.

9. Do Something Different

When your symptoms of stress arise, do something different to immediately ease your anxiety. Go for a bike ride. Play a game you enjoy. Watch an interesting documentary. Engaging in something else could quickly relieve your stress levels and give you control over the situation.

10. Determine Your Response

Allowing the issues to stew over time may result in long-term physical and emotional consequences. If you decide to respond to your administrators or colleagues to resolve your stress, then make a plan. Clearly communicate your problem, the steps you tried to rectify it, and what you need from them to solve it.

Manage Your Stress

Stress is a part of any profession, but how you manage your stress will define you as a teacher and as an individual. Try the best strategy that works for you so that you can establish your go-to solution to ease teacher stress. Discover more about GoGuardian Teacher™, a leading classroom management software that can help ease the stress of managing your classroom and keeping your students on-task.