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How can teachers look after their wellbeing during Covid-19?

03/06/2020

Teachers across the country are helping key workers continue their fight against Covid-19, taking the brave decision to continue teaching in classrooms and facing the challenges this presents head-on. Other teachers have switched to online teaching and have been confronted with the need to develop new teaching techniques with very little notice. Meanwhile, some supply teachers and educational support staff now find themselves taking a break from teaching. These dramatic changes highlight the need for teaching staff in all situations to take the time to focus on their wellbeing.

By definition, wellbeing is a state of mind and is dependent on comfort, health and happiness. Other synonyms for wellbeing - peace of mind, fulfilment and contentment – may resonate more for you and that’s because wellbeing means something different to each person. There are many areas which contribute to the overall human wellbeing – social, psychological, emotional and workplace – and it’s equally important to look after each area.

Here are some steps that you can take to look after your wellbeing during Covid-19:

Separating work from home

More than 7 in 10 educational staff cite not being able to switch off at the end of the day as the main reason for a negative work-life balance. Teachers can improve their wellbeing by creating a clear distinction between working hours and leisure time. For example, putting all your work materials away at the end of the day so they’re out of sight can prevent your mind from drifting to work-related matters. Or consider doing some light stretches once your work day is finished. Incorporating small habits like these will help you create a positive routine and improve your psychological wellbeing.

Education support – a UK teacher’s wellbeing charity – has created this work-life balance test to help educational staff identify whether their work is having a negative impact on their mental health. Take the test to receive practical tips for improving your wellbeing.

No-tech times

With teaching traditionally being a classroom-based job, educational staff spend considerably less time looking at a screen than people in other professions, but with online teaching becoming increasingly popular this has changed. Therefore, it’s essential to block out some time in your day where you can re-charge away from any electronic devices.

Leisure time is a chance for teachers to switch off from what has happened at work that day, or think ahead to the agenda for the week. Regardless of which wellness activity you choose - meditation, cooking your favourite food or discovering new music - it’s important to know that doing something fulfilling will help you feel more in control of your time. This in turn will boost your psychological and emotional wellbeing.

A dose of activity every day 

Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough to improve your health and wellbeing, and it’s easier to find the time than you’d think. A half-hour brisk walk is enough to get the heart pumping and boost the body’s production of endorphins - or happy hormones as they’re more commonly known. With so many online fitness videos available for free and new content being released daily it’s just a matter of finding what works for you.

Stay connected to your colleagues 

Keeping in contact with your colleagues will help you look after your social wellbeing. Reaching out to your work friends regularly can boost your motivation and it is a great chance to swap stories about any challenges you are facing or to celebrate successes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - this is a great way of coping with stress as a teacher.

Self-care for teachers

The closure of schools around the country has seen a number of teachers, supply teachers and other teaching staff have time away from the classroom and hit pause on their education career. Some may have more time while those with other obligations will have fewer hours in the day for themselves – both are difficult to manage and that’s why self-care is essential. Here are some self-care tips that will help improve your overall wellbeing:

  • Establish a good sleep routine
  • Start every day doing something that you enjoy
  • Enjoy time outdoors
  • Watch your favourite TV programme
  • Know that it’s okay to say no 

Find your next classroom or online teaching job with us

As the UK’s leading education recruitment agency we have a wide range of supply teachersecondary teacher and primary teacher roles available and we’ll take the time to find the one that’s right for you. Our consultants have a real understanding of the education industry and can provide expert advice on everything from renewing your DBS check and taking your teaching career to a new location.

Are you interested in online teaching? Request a call to hear from one of our specialist education consultants.

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