Some call stress the "silent killer" because it's easy to get so bogged down in all the tasks and responsibilities in a day that stress builds without us noticing. But just because stress is sneaky doesn't mean it's not something you should ignore. Allowing stress to grow to excessive levels can lead to depression, anxiety, and even cardiovascular disease. As an educator, you're especially vulnerable to this issue.
In a poll conducted last year, it was discovered that "nearly three-quarters of teachers and 84% of school leaders now describe themselves as 'stressed.' More than a third of education professionals have experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year." Clearly, the results show that our educators are burnt out and tired. Yet, in another survey from 2017, education administrators and teachers are listed in the top ten "most satisfying jobs." These two facts seem to fly in the face of each other. You love your job, but it's stressing you out! So what's the solution?
The reality is, there's no one solution for a problem like stress. If your stress level is causing some of those dangerous symptoms, seeing a medical professional should be your first step. However, there are many things that you can do, without spending a load of money or time, that can reduce your stress level.
Begin by prioritizing your mental health. It's easy to see when our physical bodies need attention, but taking the time to take care of your mind is easy to ignore. Simple techniques like journaling, deep breathing and meditating will help your brain decompress at the end of a stress-filled day. You don't have to do them for hours at a time, but merely setting aside 5-10 minutes after work will help you let go of the stress and begin to relax.
Another easy fix is taking some time just for you. When we work, everyone is competing for our time and focus. Sure, the children need attention, but your phone is always buzzing! A salesperson is trying to talk to you, and when are you going to get to those emails? Find a time in the day that allows you to step away from it all. Even if only for 10-20 minutes, that break can go a long way mentally. Go for a walk and focus on the world around you. Listen to the birds, feel the breeze, and let your mind free up. It costs nothing, and the benefits are immense.
Finally, turn off the phone. Maybe not for an extended period, but giving yourself some time away from electronic devices is great to let your mind unwind. Play with your children, share a moment with your spouse, pet the dog, but do it without the interruptions that electronic devices bring into your life.
These simple steps won't solve every problem, but by reducing the stress in your everyday life, you'll enjoy your job more and be better at it!