So half-term is over, the kids are back, and you have one final push to get to the end of the year. It may seem like the next six weeks will be the longest yet, but if you ensure that you keep calm and don’t let the pressure get to you, the summer will be here before you know it.
Being a teacher can be a very stressful job, with books to mark, targets to reach, and grades to achieve, but that doesn’t mean that you should let that all get to you. Some studies show that there are two ways to deal with stress. Either you ignore the issues and hope they will go away, in which case you are an ‘avoider’ or you can worry about the problem and try and find a solution as soon as possible, meaning you are a ‘stresser’.
Although employing the ‘avoider’ technique may sound good, as it means you can get on with life as if nothing at all was wrong, it can lead to denial, and one day it might all catch up with you. Being a ‘stresser’, on the other hand, can also lead to other issues. If you are the kind of person who must always find a solution to a problem, then you may feel uncomfortable or even upset when in situations you can’t control. Most of us use a combination of the two to help us deal with stress, but if you need some ideas of how to get you through the next six weeks, here are our top tips.
Try to use methods such as meditation, reading or a hot bath to relax you, rather than turning to the wine straight away.
Arrange days and nights out with friends and family to take your mind away from it for a few hours. Sitting at home will only cause you more stress.
If you have a large amount of marking to do, for example, make a list and cross off as you go. Not only will this help you to feel more organised but the process of crossing off is a visual representation of your progress.
Don’t spend too long in one go trying to find the solutions, whether that be lesson planning, marking or preparing for parents evening. Set a time period to spend on the task, and once you get there, take a break. Often, returning to a situation can help you to see more clearly.
Have a hobby. It may sound simple, but if you find yourself getting tense or worried, playing a team sport or simply going for a run can take your mind off it and help you to relax.
Don’t let stress infiltrate into your personal life. If you feel yourself getting wound up in social situations, take yourself away for five minutes to calm down. The last thing you need is to worry about something you said or did because you were under pressure.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Everyone is more irritable when they are sleep deprived, so make sure to have a set routine.
Ensure you are eating a balanced diet. Not only will this mean that you feel good in yourself, but it means that your body will be getting all the nutrients it needs to function. This will help fuel your brain to help you to make the right decisions.
Don’t drink too much caffeine. It may seem like the best thing at 11 o’clock at night when you still have marking to do but it will not help you to sleep, and too much and your body will start to rely on it.
If you feel as if you aren’t coping then speak to your GP, who can offer advice and support. It could be something as simple as nutritional advise or referring you to a professional who can help put in place measures to help you cope better at stressful times of the year.
However you cope with stress, the main things to remember are to ensure you are not letting your worries take over your life, to speak to those close to you if you feel it is getting too much, as getting it off your chest can often help. Make sure you are looking after yourself both physically and mentally, eat well and exercise, as well as ensuring you spend time out socialising to stimulate your brain. And remember there is help out there if you need it, websites such as http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help-now/anxietyinformation/anxiety-disorders/stress/ offer a range of advise and support. You are not alone!