The following is a guest post by Cathy Baylis.
There are two types of stress: the bad stress that you’re all familiar with and a good one. Yes, you’ve read that right – there’s even positive stress. But, why is it important to know the difference? Well, when you identify your stressors, you’ll better manage the way you respond to them.
Stress can be good because it protects you when needed and it helps you focus when you need to stay on top of your game. On the other hand, negative stress harms your physical and mental health. It can cause depression, digestive problems, heart disease, and other unwanted issues.
Hence, it’s crucial to keep the good stress but to find a way to eliminate the bad. Here are five natural ways that will help every busy teacher de-stress their minds and bodies.
Organize and prioritize
As a teacher, you’re overwhelmed with preparing lessons, tests, school administration, managing students outside the classroom, tracking their progress and presenting the information to parents. You have many things on your plate on a daily basis which is your main stressor. An excellent way to reduce stress is to handle your school activities by organizing and prioritizing.
The best way to do this is to:
– Identify your goals. Determine your objectives for a day, week, month, and a year. That way you’ll have a clear focus.
– Prioritize. Set priorities according to your goals. You can use Urgent/Important Principle to prioritize your tasks.
– Set deadlines. If you don’t have a deadline, you’ll lose focus of your assignment, and it won’t get done.
– Use the calendar. Plan your time to get the most of it.
With so many activities and responsibilities, who has time for exercising? However, it only takes one step to break that vicious circle and introduce physical activity in your life. You’ll feel more energized and lighter which will prepare you to cope with stressful situations.
Another benefit that training brings is that it helps you take your mind off nerve-wracking thoughts. When you exercise, you are present and focused on body movements, so it’s like a meditation that has a therapeutic effect on your body and mind.
Invest in your health and go to the gym three times a week. It will be difficult at first, but it will pay off in the long run. If you don’t have time for exercising, consider this:
– Walk to the school if possible or at least park farther away from your room.
– Use breaks to stretch a little bit.
– Try walking meetings.
Eat healthy meals
Nourishing your body and mind with healthy food will give you fuel to tackle all your duties, no matter how stressful they are. Whenever you forget to eat or when you don’t have time to cook and you instead eat junk food, you harm yourself, which results in more stress.
Therefore, try to include or exclude the following food from your diet to lead a healthy life and keep stress in check:
– Eat more fruit, vegetables, and other food rich in fiber.
– Avoid too many caffeinated drinks which increase your adrenaline.
– Include superfoods, such as berries, dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds.
– Avoid nicotine because it only encourages anxiety.
– Eat complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, beans, and vegetables.
Get enough quality sleep
There’s a common misconception that stress causes inability to sleep well, but according to Harvard medical school, it’s actually the other way around – lack of good sleep inhibits you to deal even with the usual amount of stress, let alone intensive situations. As a consequence of poor sleep, you’re easily irritable and on edge, so nothing good can come out of it.
Implement the following pieces of advice to get enough sleep to rest well and be prepared to face all challenges calmly.
– Sleep eight hours per night. Give your body and mind time to rest and energize.
– Set a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
– Take naps if you need to charge your batteries for twenty minutes.
Nurture positive relationship with coworkers
A positive relationship with your colleagues has a significant impact on stress reduction. Talking with other teachers that you trust might not solve your issues, but it will help blow off some steam and help you feel better.
Likewise, friends at school can distract you and help you stop thinking about your problems.
But first, you need to form and nurture positive relationships:
– Leave your smartphone alone. Don’t spend your lunch breaks staring at your phone; connect with real people instead.
– Start the conversation. Don’t wait for someone to approach you, be the one who will ask first. Start with a simple “How are you?”
– Be an initiator. Propose a fun activity you can do together and bond.
Now, put these suggestions into practice. Start with one piece of advice and slowly incorporate the others. It will be hard. It will take some time. However, it will pave the way to a more peaceful life, so it will be worth it.
Cathy Baylis is a freelance content writer specializing in personal growth, career development, and education who writes for many sites including https://assignmentmasters.org/
I am, once again, partnering with Angela Watson to help promote her 40-Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s an online professional development program that has already helped more than 32,000 teachers take control of their time and stay focused on what matters most. The next cohort starts in July, and the Club has been updated to cover emerging best practices for the changes ahead. Click here to join!