We all know that teachers put many things before their mental health. For most of the time their students, job, assessments and deadlines all come before their own lives. Wellness Blogger and Author Stefan Miraglia takes a look at why your mental health can suffer as a teacher and what actions you can take to improve their mental health.
You do not switch off
We are all guilty of this one. Teachers find it so challenging to switch off. Thinking about your students, your assessments, your challenges and finding time to get it all done is something that can play on your mind as a teacher. Being connected and ‘switched-on’ for most of the working week, and potentially weekends can leave you stressed and anxious without having time to relax, reflect and enjoy yourself.
You do not find time to adequately plan
Planning is a major challenge for teachers. Whilst most teachers are organised, certain pressures may come from the outside which throws your planning out. Whilst there is not much we can do with external pressures, you need to work changes into your plan and prepare for things to go wrong. Without this side of your planning, things may seem overwhelming
You do not feel that you are worthy or you fear performance results
This one is deep. But how many of us struggle with not being worthy enough? Whether it is a job, a relationship or anything else in life, we can often put ourselves down and forget to give ourselves the credit we deserve. As a teacher you are often measured and assessed in your own and your students performance. This can bring about anxiety and stress but you need to understand that this is a part of the job that you just need to accept. You are a teacher and you have done all the study and work experience to deserve your position. You just need to believe that you are the best person to teach your class and let the results take care of themselves.
Ok let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to maintain and improve your mental health to help reduce the impact of the challenges above.
Diet and Exercise
Yes I know this is cliché but the facts are that when someone’s mental health is dropping, the first thing to go with it is their diet and exercise. Studies show that exercising a few times a week for at least 30 minutes can reduce depression by 20%. Not to mention that this gets the blood pumping and endorphins flowing.. If you are not one for the gym, find a friend to go on a jog with. Spring is here and it is time to wash away the rain and get outdoors, enjoy the sun and be more active! Diet is just as important. Your body is like a car and if you don’t give it the right fuel, it is not going to run right. As teachers we know that you’re smart, but you need to practice what you preach to your students.
Switch Off! Make time for yourself
This is probably the hardest thing to do but we can guarantee that you will get the most benefit out of it. Find a way to make a schedule where it includes time for you to ‘switch off’. This is time doing something you love, something alone or something where your mind is taken off your job. Netflix and TV is ok but it is not as good as finding something to actively engage in. Finally, don’t read or reply to emails after hours (unless there is a deadline from time to time). Your time is for you to rest and recharge your batteries for school the next day. If you can find a way to avoid screens (TV’s, phones, ipads) in the last hour before bed this will help massively too. Read, listen to relaxing music and take it easy to put your mind into rest mode before getting at least 7 hours of sleep.
Make time to see your friends and family
A teacher sacrifices so much for their career and their students. That doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice time with your loved ones too. Make sure that you still make time to catch up and have fun with those that make you feel good.
Cultivate A Positive Mindset
We all think that we are positive, but are you really? My book, Redesign Your Mind: Tools and inspiration for positive mental health explains some of the ways we set up expectations and move the goal posts so that we are never truly happy. Get to work on cultivating a positive mindset by using tools such as the ones in my book or other mental health apps and books.
Create a vision Board
This one is great for those that want a visual outlines of their goals, dreams, and what is important to them. Your vision board is for you and you can make it however you like. You can keep it private, or you can put it on display for everyone to see. Maybe you make a vision board for school and one for home? Maybe you make one with your students in class to get their buy in as well? Visualise the teaching experience and life you want to have, and put it on the board to help remind you when you need it!
That was a few ways you can maintain and improve your mental health as a teacher
We know that it is not easy to juggle all the demands of being a teacher, and sometimes your mental health and your needs take a back seat. Take note of some of the ways you can improve your mental health and you will hopefully find that your happiness and productivity reach new highs – allowing you to be the best teacher you can be whilst also having a balanced lifestyle.
About the author – Stefan Miraglia – Wellness Blogger, Mental Health Advocate and Author
Stefan is a published author with his book, Redesign Your Mind: tools and inspiration for positive mental health. Stefan lives in Adelaide and writes on his blog, wellnessofhealth.com.au to help people with their mental health. At Edu Web Solutions we have arranged a special offer for our members to purchase bulk copies of the book. Not only can Stefan’s book help with your mental health, but Stefan is also donating a portion of every sale to mental health organisations, further improving the mental health of future generations. Contact us etc for pricing options. We are also arranging Wellness Seminars at schools, where copies of the book will be given out as part of the seminar. Please contact us to pre-register your interest and find out more information.