Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition - Episode 38 - How to Manage Your Stress During the Holidays

December 12, 2019 Kitty Boitnott Season 1 Episode 38
Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 38 - How to Manage Your Stress During the Holidays
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Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 38 - How to Manage Your Stress During the Holidays
Dec 12, 2019 Season 1 Episode 38
Kitty Boitnott

The holiday season is stressful for some. In fact, for some people, it brings more stress than joy.

Teachers hand on to the thought that during their holiday break, they can get some rest. But there is no rest for the weary person who is responsible for decorating, baking, party planning, and attending, and Christmas shopping while working full time.

If you find yourself more stressed than usual with all the holiday activities going on, you may need to take a breath (literally, take a long, deep breath) and consider that you need to take care of yourself.

Listen to hear how important the 7 strategies for managing your stress are even more important to heed to when we are in the midst of the holidays.

And if you would like to download the cheat sheet I referenced in this episode, get it free here:  https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/cheat-sheet-on-stress-management-during-the-holidays/.

Transcript of this episode:  http://bit.ly/2E46OXN.

Show Notes Transcript

The holiday season is stressful for some. In fact, for some people, it brings more stress than joy.

Teachers hand on to the thought that during their holiday break, they can get some rest. But there is no rest for the weary person who is responsible for decorating, baking, party planning, and attending, and Christmas shopping while working full time.

If you find yourself more stressed than usual with all the holiday activities going on, you may need to take a breath (literally, take a long, deep breath) and consider that you need to take care of yourself.

Listen to hear how important the 7 strategies for managing your stress are even more important to heed to when we are in the midst of the holidays.

And if you would like to download the cheat sheet I referenced in this episode, get it free here:  https://kittyboitnott.lpages.co/cheat-sheet-on-stress-management-during-the-holidays/.

Transcript of this episode:  http://bit.ly/2E46OXN.

Kitty Boitnott:

Are you a teacher who's feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? Do you worry that you're feeling symptoms of burnout or are you sure you've already gotten there? Have you started to dream of doing some other kind of job or perhaps pursuing a whole different career, but you don't know what else you're even qualified to do? You don't know how to start a job search. You just feel stuck. If that sounds like you, I promise you're not alone. My name is Kitty Boitnott. I'm a career transition and job search coach and I specialize in helping burnt out teachers just like you deal not only with the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day job, but to consider what other careers might be out there waiting for you. Join me for "Teachers in Transition." In some episodes I'll be speaking to stress management techniques and how you can manage your stress on a day to day basis. In other episodes I'll be talking about career transition. What tools do you need to be successful in a job search when you're moving from one career into a totally different track? These are questions that you need answers to and I can help you find those answers. My name is Kitty Boitnott. Welcome to "Teachers in Transition." Welcome back for another episode of "Teachers in Transition," the podcast and the YouTube channel. And today I'm going to be talking about some stress management strategies. You've probably heard, if you've listened to me before, it's possible that you've heard me talk about some of these strategies, but I want to put them in the context of this being the holiday season today. The day that I'm speaking to you , um, is going to be Thursday, the 12th of December. Now I'm actually speaking on Tuesday the 10th, but you will hear this message on Thursday the 12th, which means less than two weeks to Christmas. And while I know that Christmas is the hap-hap-happiest time of the year--at least that's what the song says--I also know that it's a busy time for everyone. It's especially busy, maybe a little frantic this year because the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shortened because we had a late Thanksgiving and there's so much to do. It seems like every year there was more to do than the year before, and let's just say it--if you're the woman of the house, the female and control of your household, you've got a lot of irons in the fire, lots of things you need to be doing on top of keeping up with your schoolwork and it can become very, very stressful. Now,a I know that most of you are hanging on, you may be by your fingertips waiting for Christmas to come for the holiday because most of you will get at least a week or more if you're lucky you get a full two weeks and so you're looking forward to that and thinking you can decompress after after the break starts, which is great cause that's probably true. The Christmas shopping will have to have been done and all of the festivities will be pretty much behind you except for whatever you may do for the New Year. So there is, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I understand that. But I also know that people get themselves more stressed during this time of year than perhaps some other times of the year. And some of these stress management strategies that I recommend, even though I would recommend them for any time during the year, they become even more important to remember and to practice during the holiday season, during the winter months. Frankly. And the reason I say that is that one of the things that you can do to help maintain your resilience and your sense of being grounded and uh , not, not so , um, knocked off of center by the things that are going on around you. You can do that more easily if you are staying hydrated. When you are dehydrated, you become less clear in your thinking. You can even actually make some really bad mistakes because you're not thinking clearly. Your brain needs to be hydrated. In fact, your brain will draw the water that's in your system up to it in order to maintain its hydration level. And so when you, when your brain starts to get dehydrated because the rest of you is dehydrated, that's bad news and it can affect your thinking and your decision making ability. Now the reason that this is so critical during this time of year is that not only are you super busy and probably not thinking so much about staying hydrated, but you're , if you're in a part of the country or the world where the weather has turned cold ish and the artificial heat has been turned on furnaces or electric heat pumps or whatever source of indoor he use , that indoor heat, while it feels good and keeps you warm, tends to have a dehydrating effect. And so wherever you are, where there is artificial heat that's being generated indoors, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated because the heat draws the hydration out of your body. So you need to recommit or, or stay ultra committed to the idea of staying hydrated during the holiday season. And that's a critical component of helping you to stay grounded and not to get caught up in all of the stress of the season. It's also important that you continue to eat for nutrition. I don't have to tell you, this is the time of year where Tim Taishan lies everywhere. You walk into the teacher's lounge and somebody brought in cookies or brownies or goodies that somebody gave them that they don't want to have in their house. And so what if , why not? It's there. So why not? You go to parties and you indulge because that's what you do at a party. You don't go to a party so you can stay on a diet and know that's what diet people will tell you to do. But who does that? And you can manage, you don't have to go crazy, but let's just face it. During the holiday season, there are more temptations and it's harder to stay on track if you're trying to manage your weight or trying to even manage your diabetes if that's an issue. So trying to eat better so that you are not as prone to giving into the temptation is a good idea. So don't forget that even while this is the holiday season and you're drinking more perhaps and you're eating more sweets, you still need, your body will still need the nutrition, the , the minerals and the nutrients that come from eating well. So try to to remember that, don't forget the importance of exercise. You know, if you're a runner, it may be a little harder to go out in the early morning when it's dark and dreary. Now for a lot of runners that I know that's not the case because if you're a true runner, you don't care whether it's light or dark or cold or whatever you just, you're going to run. But if you're starting a running regimen, it may be harder to stay with it for the longterm as the days are shorter and turning colder in many parts of the country. So whether you run or walk or go to the gym, try not to give up on that practice as well. That way you won't have as much damage control to do at the end of the year at the start of the new year. So just just keep that in mind. Try to stay on a sleep schedule. If you haven't developed a sleep schedule yet, you need to, the science is very, very clear that we need enough sleep each night, that we can function properly, that we can be productive and that we can make good decisions. Again, just like being dehydrated, if you're sleep deprived, your brain is not functioning at its peak level and you tend to make mistakes. This is how accidents happen. People are groggy, they're drowsy, they're not paying attention, and suddenly boom, you've run into the back end of somebody's car or , or they've run into you if they're the ones who are sleep deprived. It's, it's a statistical fact that as many or more accidents, car accidents, vehicular accidents, are the result of people driving drowsy as opposed to those who are driving under the influence. So keep that in mind. You need your sleep. Your body needs sleep six and a half to eight hours every single night. Don't forget to breathe now. You know what. When I wrote my first guide to stress management strategies, shortly after getting my stress management certification, I wrote a little guide of the six strategies for maintaining your, your equilibrium and managing your stress. Because I forgot all about breathing. We do it so naturally and yet we don't do it correctly at all, especially when we're stressed. When we're stressed, we tend to breathe very shallowly. In fact, we hardly even fill up both lobes of our lungs because when we're stressed, our heart rate increases and that increases our breathing rate. So a really good daily practice, and I've gotten better and better at this and honest to goodness, it's helping in a lot of different areas, including helping to relieve some chronic back pain that I have been experiencing, but stopping periodically through the day and reminding myself of the importance of breathing deeply all the way down to my diaphragm In and then out. Now I've recently heard that it's important to breathe out through your nose as well as in through your nose. And other people say you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. I don't know that it makes that much difference. I've not done the research on it, so whatever feels good for you. I generally breathe in through my nose and then slowly out through my mouth, but do that two or three times a day. Just stop. Whatever you're doing, you can sit or stand, whatever works for you. If you're sitting, sit up straight, breathe in through your nose and let the air go all the way down into your belly. It's not in your belly, but fill it, fills up your lungs, it goes all the way to your diaphragm, and then slowly breathe out. You will feel that tension drain away from your neck and shoulders. It's helped me, as I said, in remedy and to a certain extent, some pain in my back, so do that. Don't forget to breathe. It's really important when you're super busy to not give up on your daily meditation or mindfulness practice and if prayer works for you and your tradition better than meditation or mindfulness, then do that just to stay grounded and in touch with whatever your higher power looks like. And finally, don't forget to have fun. This season is supposed to be about fun after all, fun for yourself and for your family, fun with your friends, and if that means cutting back a little bit on some of the expectations you've set for yourself during this holiday season, do that. Just don't make yourself feel like you have to do everything just because you've done it in the past. Now I'm not necessarily recommending this, but I gave up putting up a Christmas tree, I guess it's been six years ago, partly because I live in a place where it's just clumsy to have to move everything around and to put a full size tree yet . And the year that I decided not to put the tree up, I had a new dog and I was concerned that he would be nudging around it, messing with the tensile, you know, that routine. Uh, so I just decided to forego having a tree that year. And then I skipped it the next year and the next, and then the next year after that, I think I did try to, I thought, I thought, well, you know, he's older, he'd be able to manage it, I'd be able to manage it. So I dragged my artificial pre-lit tree in, got it set up, plugged it in, and a whole section of the lights didn't work anymore. And I thought, you know, I'm not worried enough about it to go out and buy lights. I don't want to spend the money on a new artificial tree. So I took it down discarded the tree and I've never, never put up a tree since then. Now I have to admit, every year I think about it. Do I want to put up a tree this year? And part of the reason I think that I check in with myself to see if I would like to have a tree or if I feel the need for a tree is that it was a tradition and the one that I enjoyed for many years and then while I was married, my ex husband pretty much managed to ruin every Christmas. I don't have to go into detail. It is, he managed to ruin every Christmas. And so the first Christmas that I was divorced or separated in a way from that environment, and not only set up a tree, but I went all out and decorated every corner of my little apartment and my little porch and I was happy as a Lark. The lights made me happy. And so for several years after that, I put up a tree every year and I enjoyed the lights. I enjoyed the ambiance , I enjoyed having the tree and then I didn't. And I don't make myself feel bad about not wanting to have a tree. It's okay. I put out a few things here and there. I recognize that it's the Christmas season, but I don't let the seasons stress me out anymore. If I ever did, I don't know that I ever did. so make decisions. Don't just blindly go through the routine of doing the same thing every year that you, you know, you don't have to make yourself do it. Everything every year that you maybe enjoy doing in years past. Just what I'm suggesting is you don't have to do it just because it's a tradition. Do it because you want to. And if you catch yourself thinking, I wouldn't do this if it weren't for somebody else who's going to have a negative opinion about you not having a tree or not putting up whatever, then stop and think about whether or not it's something you really want to do or not. While. It's important that you create a holiday tradition for your family. You don't want to be a martyr about it either. I don't think. So check in with yourself and don't be bashful about asking for help if you need it, c ause you don't have to do everything yourself. There are other people you can ask for a little help. So do that. If it'll help. Don't let the holidays stress you out to the point that you don't enjoy them. That's my main message. And use some of these strategies to help you to stay more grounded and less stressed. And if you'd like a copy of the strategies that I went through just now, feel free to click on the link in the show notes and download a copy of a cheat. It's actually a cheat sheet on how to distress during the holidays and if that is something that resonates for you and something you think you would need, please feel free. It's a , it's a free cheat sheet and you're welcome to have it if you think it would help. So that's it for today. This is Kitty Boitnott of Boitnott Coaching and http://bit.ly/2E46OXN I hope this message will have been helpful to you as you prepare for the 2019 season of Christmas season and until next week, have a wonderful week. So there you have it, an episode of "Teachers in Transition." I hope you enjoyed the information and I hope you'll plan to come back. Please subscribe to "Teachers in Transition" so that you can be alerted of future episodes. And let me know if you have any questions or topics that you would like me to specifically cover in a future episode. I'm more than happy to help with individual questions as well. So email me at KittyBoitnott@BoitnottCoaching.com. If you are interested in finding a new career or just enjoying your life more, this is the place to start. Hi, I'm Kitty Boitnott and this is "Teachers in Transition."