Do you remember the movie, “Alexander and the Terrible No-Good, Very Bad Day"? It was a horrible day and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I realize that teachers have an occasional off day, but when those terrible days stack up, this leads to problems. Teacher burnout can be a real danger.
Do you have burnout symptoms? Do you feel fatigued, have sleeping issues, eating too much or not at all, grouchy, or maybe a dooms-day feeling. So, what do you do about teacher burnout? Here are some lifestyle tips that may help.
- Try Some Exercise – An exercise routine may be hard to put into your schedule, but you don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to do your body good. Just start moving. Maybe a walk or jog, a little workout via a DVD at home, a swim in the pool, or anything you truly like to do as long as you are moving. Body movement helps to de-stress and boost the immune system.
- Do Something New –Try new ideas, even if you don’t think you will like all of them. If your routine is always done a certain way – change it! You can always return to your original schedule if the change doesn’t work out. Changes don’t have to be major ones. Drive (or walk) to your destination on a new route. Do something different on your break. Speak to a stranger. Eat a food you’ve never tried before.
- Create a Pleasing Work Space – Look at your classroom – does it make you happy? Maybe rearrange some furniture. Put up new, colorful pictures. Pull dead leaves off a wilting plant, or better yet, bring in a new plant. Your work environment is the place in which you spend many hours of your life and you (and your students) deserve a beautiful place.
- Team Up and Swap Some Jobs –If you’re lucky, another teacher may like to take over some jobs that you dread. And you may like some chores she does. Talk to colleagues and swap tasks. You both may be much happier in the long run.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Save your energies for emergencies. People say that the worst possible waste of time is the minutes (or hours) used searching for things misplaced. Plan ahead by making or buying duplicates of little things (like a stapler or masking tape) helps relieve immediate needs. The original usually shows up eventually.
- Be Good to Yourself – It’s impossible to always give your best to others when you deprive yourself. Reward yourself often. It could be as simple as a cup of tea, a new plant, an ice cream sundae, or a massage (once in a while).
- Laugh Often – Find a funny quote and make this your mantra for the day. Partake in watching a funny movie at home. Laughter is good medicine; it helps the body de-stress. And, if you can laugh at your own mistakes at work (or at home), they usually fade away. Be happy!
- Take Time to Smell the Roses – Value yourself and the job you are doing. Find joy in small successes. Take a good look at the impact you have on your students. What more important job could you possibly find?
These are eight ways to prevent teacher burnout. Check below for extra resources that will give you tips to prevent this chronic cause of stress.
First Teacher Magazine, Lighten Up: Stop Teacher Burnout, May/June 1997 edition
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay