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Teacher stress management techniques

Five ways teachers can manage stress.

Date posted : 01 November 2022

Nobody enters a teaching career because they want a stress-free life. But while moments of stress are inevitable within any teaching role, prolonged exposure to stress can overwhelm anyone and negatively affect mental health and well-being. So, with Stress Awareness Week taking place next week, here are our top 5 ways teachers can manage their stress levels during the autumn term and throughout the year. 

Set Boundaries

Teaching is more of a vocation than a job. However, that doesn’t mean it should take over your life. As a teacher, saying no can seem foreign. Saying yes to things can make you feel like you are a good colleague, but the opposite might be true. You open yourself to negative consequences whenever you say yes to tasks you don’t have the time or specialism to do. These include resentment, poor quality work, reduced time and energy to address your priorities, and increased stress.  

Setting clear boundaries with your line managers and colleagues is as important as setting boundaries with your pupils. Becoming confident in saying no is an essential tool in stress management. Here are some excellent tips to help you say no, to achieve more 

Establish Priorities 

As a teacher, there are always lots of things you could be doing. Establishing clear priorities will help you focus on what you should be doing. Stress comes not only from having too much to do but also from not completing the tasks we know are vital. Teachers must have a clear understanding of what their priorities are. 

There is a world of resources and methods, but perhaps the best is one of the oldest. The Eisenhower Urgent/Important Principle is easy to use and (if you stick to it!) is vital for improving time management and understanding your workload. Here is an excellent article about how educators can use the method. 

Focus on What You Can Control 

Managing stress is not the same as having a stress-free life. There will always be situations, people and responsibilities that introduce stress into your working life. What you can do is focus on the stress triggers you can control.  

Take time to reflect on the things that you know trigger stress. Conduct a kind of stress audit, if you will. Do this at a time when you are feeling calm and try to stay objective. Identify the things that trigger stress for you and build a plan to tackle the ones you can control.  

Have Someone to Talk To 

A problem shared is a problem halved, so, as any maths teacher will tell you, if you keep on talking about your issues, they will be reduced to a tiny fraction by the end of the day! If only it were that easy. Bottling up anger and frustration is not a good idea.  

Putting yourself out there and addressing a difficult situation with a colleague or talking to a friend who is a trusted sounding board will help reduce your stress massively. Just don’t let stress fester. Feelings are heavier when you carry them alone.

Prioritize Time for Yourself

Being a teacher is undoubtedly a massive part of your life, but it is only some of your life. Find time for family, friends and loved ones as a priority. Time spent exercising or practising a hobby is time invested in your mental well-being and therefore, your performance at work. 

So, don’t feel guilty about spending time with your double o gauge model railway or your passion for campanology; this is time you are investing in your mental well-being.

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