Can you reduce your own stress levels?

You have nearly made it to Half Term! Congratulations!

Colleagues in Scotland are on their break already, having gone back in August, and our friends in Northern Ireland have another week to go, but whether you have one week or two, this is the first chance to rest, relax and reflect on the year so far.

So can you reduce your own stress levels as a teacher? How would you go about it?

Schools have hopefully by now set out how they are going to act upon the recommendations of the Workload Commission, but this is something we will explore in a later piece together with one or two other issues, but the focus for today is managing matters for yourself.

NQTs in particular may be feeling a certain level of stress. A level of personal organisation will help immensely. Our blog focused upon eating to keep fit and healthy, but no amount of fluids and fruits will protect your mental health and wellbeing.

This is your first real break of the academic year. The key to returning relaxed is to make this work for you. Don’t be tempted to spend the whole of this holiday catching up. If you do you either have too much work to do or you may need to consider your personal organisation. You have two days left this week, so use this for ensuring your marking and tracking is up to date. The temptation to carry things over into the holiday will leave you with burdens you would wish to avoid.

However even the most experienced of us know that this just isn’t possible, especially if you had two late nights with parent’s evenings, the final sports fixture before the hour goes back and with a staff training day to close out the week. If this is you; set yourself the target of doing what you need to early in the week. Saving it to Thursday will mean it is saved to Friday, then it’s the weekend with the Sunday evening guilty feelings again.

Other ways to destress at Half Term.

  • Plan something fun! Blackpool is nice at this time of the year, even if it may feel a little like Moscow in the wind.
  • Get out of the house! That cleaning can wait. We have the glorious British autumn to appreciate.
  • Read! That paperback gathering dust since 1st September is calling.
  • Have some phone free time! Leave Twitter, or at least EduTwitter to the diehards.
  • Go Christmas shopping, because doing it on the 23rd and 24th December is for the foolhardy only.

After we return however, really do be aware of your stress levels because these will impact upon your nearest and dearest as well as your young learners and your colleagues.Some simple pieces of advice include.

  • Identifying an issue and seeking help. We  have all been there and nobody will judge you if they are decent.
  • Look out for others; are they tetchy, missing deadlines or looking ill. You might be their confidant.
  • Start your day calm. Have things ready the night before: your outfit and your lessons. Have a calm start in your class too.
  • Be realistic with yourself and your own targets.
  • Think ahead to deadlines. Know what is coming and don’t be surprised.
  • Prioritise!
  • Say no! It is easier if you are more experienced. Don’t be blunt, but be polite. The truth reflects well on you.

This isn’t an exclusive list by any means, but please add to it in the comments below.

Now: enjoy the break. That’s an order!


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