Teachers mould young minds and generations. You never know how many students have taken your words of wisdom to heart and have practised them in real life, and also lovingly passed them on to their own children.
Teaching is a very giving profession but can get stressful at times with deadlines, workloads and assessment work. If all that stress is kept bottled up, it can come out in unhealthy ways like angry outbursts, dizziness, chronic headaches, body aches, poor appetite, irritability, etc. Here, we endeavour to provide some stress-busting techniques for our dear teachers so that they can sail smoothly through their daily lives:
1. Get up 10–15 minutes earlier to prevent the mad morning rush. Avoid stressful mornings by choosing what to wear, ironing your clothes and preparing for school the night before. Ask your partner to pitch in with the housework and help prepare the lunch boxes in the morning.
2. Identify what is causing you stress and divide them into things which can be controlled and which are beyond your control. Work on the things which are under your control.
3. Write a to-do list every day to be organized so you have more time needed to finish things.
4. Break down whatever you have to do into smaller tasks. It will make the larger tasks achievable and easier. Take help from others if needed.
5. Say ‘no’ politely to avoid taking on more projects than you can handle.
6. Deal politely and openly with people who upet you before a situation becomes combustible.
7. Surround yourself with positivity – positive thoughts, quotes, posters, people – it will increase your happiness index twofold! Keep this dictum of Gandhiji in mind: ‘I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.’
8. Avoid staff room politics as it saps your energy and brings in a lot of negativity.
9. Start noticing and jotting down things that bring you joy. This will reboot your mind and give you instant energy. Be kind to yourself and reflect on past successes and write them down. Note down the glitches and manage them.
10. Take the time to recharge your mind and body – play with pets, exercise, go for a walk, meditate, do yoga or listen to music.
11. Converse with a fellow staff member or simply vent out your feelings with a friend.
12. Adopt physical activities – they help reduce stress. Exercise increases endorphin levels in the brain, boosting the feel-good factor and reducing stress.
13. Expect and reiterate the non-negotiable boundaries of behaviour from students from the very start. This will instill discipline and classes will be a pleasure to take instead of being a noisy, stressful riot.
14. While dealing with undisciplined or problem students, tap into their energy level instead of punishing them and getting stressed yourself. Involve them in interesting activities like drawing and painting. Tell them stories of good behavior with morals. Motivate them with appreciation and rewards.
15. While giving feedback about problematic children to their parents, mix in positive comments with feedback about needed improvements. This will decrease friction between you and parents, and hence reduce stress.
16. Watch a funny movie. Research has shown that laughter is the best medicine. It leads to the formation of natural endorphins and inoculates you from stress.
17. Have a good night’s sleep. Only three to four hours of sleep can cause mental and physical exhaustion and stress. Sleep for at least eight hours.
18. Sleep on your side instead of on your back and stomach. The brain’s self-cleaning system, which activates during sleep, performs more efficiently when you sleep on your side.
We hope you teachers found these stress-busting tips useful and are ready to take on any challenge in the classroom and the world – head on!
For more tips on reducing stress you may refer to these books:
Stress Control by Susan Balfour
How To Deal With Stress, 3/e by Stephan Palmer & Cary Cooper
Stress That Motivates by Dru Scott
Do share it with your colleagues and friends, because we all are in need of some handy stress-busting tips from time to time. If you want to add any other stress-busting tip to this list, please let us know in the comment section below.