Do These 5 New Things to Relieve COVID Teaching Stress
Are you catching yourself stressing to the max every day from all of the teacher responsibilities? Has your home life, family, and mental health been affected? Be honest. I bet you haven't implemented these five things to change your life for good.
Believe me, I bet ALL teachers can agree on one thing. This COVID year has had a negative impact on us all. We get thrown into new learning systems, new procedures, hybrid classes, all virtual classes, and better yet; they expect us to teach with a mask on our face?!
As most of us have tackled on this year, we have learned many different things. We might have mastered a new learning system like Canvas, become Google Classroom masters, or even accomplished the unthinkable hybrid classes of having a seated AND virtual class at the same time! But what one thing that I bet has happened to 95% of teachers this year is that the stress/ anxiety has defeated and weakened our souls.
Why? Because we love our students. We still want to make an impact. We want them to succeed given their rough circumstances! We want them to find joy in learning and overcoming these obstacles. So here are FIVE things that you NEED to be doing to relieve all of that stress and anxiety. They will truly lead you to a great rest of the school year.
Five Things to Start Relieving COVID teaching stress and anxiety:
1.) Leave Work AT Work! (In this case, leave work at your workspace at home.)
This one might be hard. We love our students and want to communicate when they get back to us. We all have those parents and students who want to message us at 7 PM or else they won't otherwise. The BEST thing that I could have done was to reset EVERY day. You got a message at 9 PM from a parent/student you haven't heard from yesterday or the day before? Trust me, you have work hours for a reason. The response CAN WAIT until tomorrow morning. Your peace of mind will thank you for the break.
2.) STOP Overworking and Creating Lessons Past Your Set Work Times!
I found myself thinking of new ideas on how to motivate my students in the middle of watching a movie with my family. I would then bring out the laptop and before you knew it, I was working for hours. I didn't interact with my family. I was distracted. I have set myself a time for planning, creating, and doing those extra activities for my students. I decided to set that time to create/do from 3:30 until 4:30 every day. I would make myself stop at 4:30 or close to it. Trust me, your family will be grateful.
Always remember, "You are replaceable at work. You are NOT replaceable with your family. They need you."
3.) Find Your Coping Strategy.
When I am super stressed, the one thing that made me feel better and more relaxed was either "me time" or getting out out and going somewhere. "Me time" consisted of getting my nails done at a salon or taking a hot relaxing bubble bath with no interruptions. I would also just go. Go somewhere out to eat or go on a day trip somewhere new. By the next day, I was freshly re-set to tackle on the day's to-do list.
4.) Find Your Person.
While we ALL love our husbands, wives, kids, and family; I am not talking about them. Find someone in the education field that you can talk to. That person WILL understand what you are going through. It is nice to talk to my teacher partner about the struggles and woes of students not completing assignments, students not coming to Zoom meetings, wondering if you are doing something wrong and if you are a successful teacher, etc. The MOST important thing to talk to your person about is the good things as well. Always end the conversation with a positive mindset. You don't want to ruin your mood, so talk about what you are excited about or looking forward to in the next day or two. My whole mindset changed when I found my person. They understood me. They had my back.
5.) ALWAYS End Your Day With a Positive Mindset.
We have all heard this. Some of you are probably thinking yeah, yeah, be positive. But did you know that MOST teachers who are experiencing teacher burnout do NOT think of ONE positive thing in their day? I challenge you to write down one positive thing at the end of your work day. Did you get to interact with a student that doesn't communicate much? Did one of your students finally turn in their assignments? Did any light bulbs go off for your students? How about positive feedback from a parent, colleague, or administrator? That one positive thought can end your day on a good note which changes your mindset. You won't take it out on your family when you don't mean to, you won't be negative towards your kids or fur babies, and I bet you won't even go to bed as angry as you have been. If you end on a positive note, you will more than likely wake up with a positive note.
I challenge you to do these five things daily! Go ahead, try it. Your family, your mind, your life will thank you. Then write or comment how it has changed your mindset for the better! Do you have any other stress relieving ideas?