We know educators face skyrocketing expectations, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout. We’ve put together some tips and exercises to combat the pressure that comes with the job. Most can be completed in only a few minutes and at your desk.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can reduce stress by boosting oxygen and forcing you to focus on your breathing instead of whatever is causing anxiety. Try the 4-7-8 Technique. While seated, rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and keep it there throughout the exercise. Exhale completely through your mouth. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat four times.
One weapon to fight workplace stress might already be in your hand. A variety of mobile apps offer quick, easy relaxation exercises. Apps such as Calm
offer guided meditation sessions that can be as short as a few minutes. Users also have access to breathing programs, stretching exercises, and tips to aid sleeping.
Try to find a way to get some sort of physical activity into your day. Even a quick five-minute walk can help. Can’t find time leave your classroom? Try some stretching exercises at your desk—anything that gets you up and moving and increases your blood flow!
Shut Your Door
Find a private place free from distractions where you can recharge and regroup. Consider shutting the door to your classroom or office to allow for uninterrupted planning time or a chance to try these relaxation tips.
Learn to Say No
You decided to go into education because you wanted to help others. However, you are just one person who can only do so much. You don’t have to volunteer to do every project or serve on every committee. Learn when to say “no” so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Leave Work at Work
Whenever possible, try to leave the work at work. Stay a little bit late or arrive early to give yourself time to do grading and prep work you could not fit into another day. That way, when you leave in the evening, you can focus on recharging and regrouping for the next day.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of ATPE News magazine.