We’ve all been there as educators; trying to teach, coach, supervise, or sponsor school events while life inside and outside of the school comes at you full force.  Recently my daughter got married. She decided to get married in September, of all times. She is also a teacher, so I really had a hard time understanding her choice other than her wish of, “I’ve always wanted to get married in the fall.” It was no easy task to fit emotionally and physically into my schedule. Two years ago, my mother was on the last days of her life journey the first two days of school in August. Her funeral fell during the first full week of school. Stress was everywhere. Stress is everywhere. How do we handle our jobs when life inside and outside the classroom hits us hard?  There is no way to stop the world and all of its stress coming at you at high speed, but there are some things you can do to help ease the pressure a bit.

Get Up and Get Out

Many of us take on extra duties during our lunch breaks and some of us only (unfortunately) get 15-20 minutes tops for lunch. Mix in kids and colleagues that stop you in the hall and it could be even less. Leaving the building, if you can, can help boost your attitude tremendously.  Take a walk around the perimeters, get in your car and drive around the block. Sunshine and fresh air for even five or ten minutes can reduce your stress levels.

Find Relaxing Hobbies Outside the Classroom

Most people hate yard work, but for me, it’s very relaxing and therapeutic. Many people like to watch ballgames, TV or go to a movie. It’s important that you find something that is healthy for your mind and body, however. When looking for a hobby, exercise and movement can’t be beat for removing stress…and you just may get healthier in the process.

Watch What You Eat

My mother always told me, “You are what you eat!” and the older I get, the more I find it to be true. My body can’t take the unhealthy food choices like it used to. I find that I maintain a healthier attitude and feel less stressful when my body is receiving the nutrients that it needs.

Sleep Well

It seems about every few months a study will come out saying that we as Americans need more sleep. This is something we already know, but we still slight our bodies from precious dream time in order to accomplish more in our day.  I have found that the more sleep I give myself, the more productive I am with my day and the less stressful I am. It seems that when I’m not tired, I can handle things much better than when I am. Whenever someone is “fed up” with a situation for the day, I always ask them if they got enough sleep the night before. Usually they say “no.” Do yourself and your stress levels a favor…get the sleep you need!

Express Gratitude

Believe it or not, your mindset affects your attitude which can ultimately affect your stress levels; reflecting gratitude and thankfulness for the things that are going right in your life, just may be the key to reducing stress.  There are many ways you can appreciate your life and show gratitude. Verbally compliment yourself or someone else out loud. Write down the things that are going right in your life. Keep a journal and reflect back on how far you’ve come. You might just be surprised how much goes right in your world. Focus on that.

Talk to Someone

Finding someone to express yourself to, can make all the difference in the world when looking to relieve some stress. I am lucky in that I have many great friends that I know I can trust, and will listen to me when I need a shoulder. If you are lacking friends, find a support group or a counselor. There are many options out there when looking for emotional support.  Talking to someone can be just the cure you need to relieve your stress.

Even though stress is all around us, it can be especially hard when it comes at us from inside and outside our places of employment. If you take these small steps listed above, you just may find yourself getting through the difficult times a little easier. We can’t remove stress from our lives, but we can be proactive in helping ourselves cope with the things that hit us in and outside the classroom.

 

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