Both young and experienced teachers are under tremendous stress— from job insecurity and changing expectations of performance and roles to the increased threat of random violence with its psychological consequences. Teachers nearing retirement are wondering, what’s next in my life?
So, what can teachers do to manage these changes? Coping strategies first and foremost must include self-care, recognized stress management techniques like yoga and meditation, connections to family and friends, and pleasurable activities and hobbies. Most of all, meeting with other teachers can provide an opportunity to share their struggles, concerns and feelings.
Teachers have been trained to be givers and caretakers, focused first and foremost on the needs of their students and schools—often to their own detriment.
Here’s a quick stress-reducer to start taking care of yourself:
- BREATHE. I know you’ve heard it before but do you remember to do it? Have you ever watched a toddler dance? That’s how you start.
- STAND UP and SHAKE IT OUT.
- TAKE A SEAT sitting straight and squarely in your chair.
- BREATHE in through your nose a deep slow breath.
- HOLD IT as long as is comfortable.
- RELEASE it as slowly as you took it in.
- REPEAT 2 more times.
You should notice an immediate difference, such as feeling more relaxed, and/or more energized and alert. Benefits accrue with daily practice, so don’t give up if you don’t feel a difference the first time or so. I recommend that you do this at least once daily and before, during, and after times of stress. It’s quick and simple, and it works!
If you have been feeling on the defensive and seeing teaching as a struggle that you may be losing, it’s time to regroup, get creative, and take proactive steps so that you can return to the joy of teaching! I’d love to be part of your journey!