How to Reduce Teacher Stress

- Practical tips to lessen the load

Teacher Stress

Teacher stress is inevitable. Every teacher feels a degree of stress –- it comes with the job. But there’s stress and there’s stress. It needs to be reduced to manageable levels before it has a negative affect on your health and well-being.

No doubt you’ll have seen articles on ways to relax, unwind and de-stress. Scented candles, deep baths and head massages are all very nice, but they only mask stress temporarily.

To regain a sense of control, you need to deal with the root cause. If you do that, stress is reduced to a healthier, manageable level.

What causes teacher stress?

There are two types of causes -- external pressures and internal habits:

External Causes: Pressures we feel. Our natural emotional responses to pressures that gradually build up include worry, fear, feeling overwhelmed and, ultimately, feeling out of control.

Examples include:

  • Bullying
  • Commuting
  • Disputes with colleagues
  • Disruptive student behaviour
  • Inspections
  • Issues out of school
  • Poor communication
  • Unclear roles and goals
  • Working environment
  • Workload

Many of these are examples of 'school stress' issues.

Internal Causes: Habits we choose. A good deal of the stress we feel comes from within. We create a lot of it ourselves by not…


What can you do about it?

Solutions are never easy. They’re usually scary, sometimes messy and rarely straightforward. But the questions to continually ask yourself are...

"What’s the price to pay if I deal with this? What’s the price if I don’t?"

Here are some suggestions to reduce stress...

If it’s external, accept it

Emotional responses to external pressures lead to an intellectual response that we choose, consciously or subconsciously. These often mean avoidance and denial.

This is understandable -- we've all done it. But reality can't be denied. The cause of stress rarely disappears on it’s own. We have to do something about it.

If it’s not, identify it

Recognizing the internal causes is the first step towards eliminating this aspect of teacher stress. Take 10 minutes to think about what you do and how you do it during the day.

What daily or weekly occurrences stress you out? What people, activities, things or habits cause stress in your life? Make a Top 10 list and write down possible solutions.

Whether it’s internal or external…

Talk

A problem shared really is a problem halved. Talk to a trusted friend or colleague. Getting it out of your head will always make you feel better and encourage you to become more solution focused.

As soon as you share your situation, you become accountable to someone other than yourself. You’re more likely to deal with stress at work and...

Act

Easier said than done, I know. But this is the bottom line. To really deal with stress, you can’t go back, under, over or around –- you have to go through it.

Remember the questions from earlier…

      "What’s the price to pay if I deal with this? What’s the price if I don’t?"

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