Stress relief for staff in schools is a must. There are several causes of stress for staff working in schools; difficult parents and colleagues, unrealistic expectations and deadlines, report cards, unacceptable student behaviour etc.
Teachers and staff working in schools have a huge responsibility, having been entrusted with the well being, discipline and education of a school full of students. Your satisfaction in working in schools can be greatly increased by improving your ability to handle stress.
Stress is a part of everyday life that is normal. However prolonged stress becomes distress and eventually takes its toll. The effects of stress are many and contribute to a large variety of illnesses. You ability to deal with stress is a major factor in determining the quality of your life.
There are a number of steps that you can take to relieve or reduce job pressures. One of the important steps is to reflect at the end of each day on what you have achieved. Sadly many of us focus on what we HAVEN’T done, instead of what we HAVE done. We tend to look at our ‘To Do’ list and focus on the tasks that we still have yet to do, instead of the things that we have achieved that day. Our self-talk in these situations is critical.
Often we start the day with the best intentions of what we think we can achieve but other events happen during the day. A parent may need to see us about an urgent matter before school, a student is upset and needs support at lunch time, a colleague needs our assistance or an unexpected meeting is called. Recognising that these ‘interruptions’ are an important part of our role is essential. At the end of the day we might not have achieved all of the things that we wanted to, however we should reflect on what we DID achieve.
If you are run down and worn out, your ability to cope with stress can be severely hampered. Outside the classroom, here are some of stress management techniques that you can use to relieve stress.
- Physical fitness is of utmost importance in dealing with stress. Exercise increases the blood flow to vital organs and delivers more oxygen to the brain. This enables you to think more clearly and cope with the stresses you encounter in school and life itself.
- Poor nutrition can have devastating effects on your body and severely limit your ability to cope with stress. Follow a well balanced and nutritional diet and limit your intake of sugar, soft drinks, coffee, tea, biscuits etc.
- Get a good night’s sleep and maintain a regular schedule, avoid naps. Alcohol and coffee affect sleep patterns.
- Try different relaxation and breathing techniques (eg meditation or yoga).
- Take charge of your time when YOU have control – By utilising your time better, you can increase your effectiveness and decrease your stress level. Asking yourself “Is this the best use of my time?” can help us to do the most important things first.
- Try not to take ourselves and others too seriously. By keeping our sense of humour, we can better cope with many of life’s challenges.
All we, as staff who work in schools, can do is try our best … ultimately our work is important and does make a difference!