Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition - Episode 127 - Back to School Stress Management Tips

September 02, 2021 Kitty Boitnott
Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 127 - Back to School Stress Management Tips
Show Notes Transcript

Going back to school this year is even more stressful than in years past. Whether you are in an area where COVID is under control or you are in an area where it is totally out of control, it has an effect on you. We are in a stage of the pandemic where we have to be constantly vigilant and it's exhausting.

That's why it is more important than ever that you take care of yourself above everyone else right now. You cannot afford to become sick. Practicing healthy habits right now is not an option--it's a requirement.

So, you need to practice healthy habits and be proactive with your self-care and stress management. If you need help, you might want to download my free ebook called Stressed, Stretched, and Just Plain Overwhelmed:  A Guide to Managing Your Stress and Developing a Greater Sense of Worklife Balance.  To get free your copy, just click right here:  https://teachersintransition.com/ebook.

Speaker 1:

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 burnout 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 and transition.

Speaker 2:

Welcome back to another episode of teachers in transition, the podcast and the YouTube channel. My name is Katie [inaudible] and I am the owner of Boitnott coaching and the founder of teachers in transition. I specialize in working with burnt out teachers who are ready for a career change, but I'm also a certified stress management coach. And I offer on this podcast alternating weeks information about career transition. And , uh, on the other weeks I talk about stress management and teachers in particular this week, the topic is stress. And back to school, I know some of you are already back to school. You've maybe been back two or three weeks, and maybe you've already seen a certain amount of a people. And depending on where you're teaching, you may have started out in person and already gone into a lockdown because of exposure to the Delta variant or , uh , some other, some other reason. Some of you are plotting white along and then doing the best you can. And , um , and I hope that that's the case for you in my area. Teachers are just getting back for their teacher workweek this week because the kids don't go back until after labor day. So , uh, I think this is, I think this is the first week back , um , that there'll be back to a full full day of teacher days . And I know from my own experience that those teacher work days are full of meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, and then I suspect, I don't know, but I think I could make a pretty fair guess that many of the meetings in the first week of school, for those who are just getting back or for those of you who've been back your first week of teacher work days were filled with meetings about how to deal with COVID, what to do, what protocols to follow, what do you need to do? Do you need to be vaccinated or else lose your position or do you need to be ultimately tested periodically? If you have a reason for not being vaccinated, does everybody have to wear a mask all day? Or can you take a break from the mask when you're outside all kinds of questions and rules and protocols will be discussed. And then there's what to do in the event of a contamination, someone who comes down sick with the variant, does everybody stay home for the next 10 days and go into quarantine? There'll be protocols for that. And all of this is stressful. It can't help, but be going back in person is going to feel stressful mainly because for many people, it's a change last year. A lot of people managed to teach virtually for most of the year. And so getting back into person in person face-to-face teaching will feel different and it will feel strange. And it will feel stressful, not just for teachers, but for students in parents as well. So how do you deal with it? What do you do with all that stress and anxiety? And the answer is you do the best you can. And , and I would urge you to relax some of your self expectations, let yourself be okay with feeling stressed and anxious. Don't resist it. I was just talking to someone this morning. It was expressing a sense of loss and a little , a little bit of depression, not serious depression, but she's going through a health crisis. And so my advice to her was don't resist it, let it wash over you like a wave in the ocean and then let it go. The more we resist something, the more that something tends to keep coming back up. So it's a good idea just to let it go by experience it, be aware of it, know that that's how you're feeling. And then let it go. Because what are the side effects of stress, unmanaged or mismanaged is irritability, anger, and irritability, and being snappish. And let's face it. You can't, as a teacher, you cannot afford to give into that because your kids are fragile. Remember they're feeling stressed and anxious too. You're all in the same boat together. And you, and you were the captain of the ship, if you will. So you need to try to steer the kids in the right direction by allowing them to let the stress way wash over them and let it go. And perhaps as a collective, as a class, you need to make some time in the day for some mindful mindfulness techniques or some stress related management techniques, something where you can acknowledge that everybody is feeling stressed and anxious. During these uncertain days. We also need to recognize that some of our students have felt traumatized. I don't think that's too strong, a word they have felt traumatized. And depending on their age and built their ability to develop through this period, some will feel more traumatized than others. Some will be resilient and they'll bounce back. They'll be back to whatever normal is for them sooner than later, but others may struggle. And as their teacher, you need to be on the lookout for that in spite of whatever you may be going through yourself. What I don't want you to do is to fall victim to this rah , rah you're. So of you're so wonderful. And it's sort of like, they make you feel like you can't afford to where you can't allow yourself to feel like the human that you are. Teachers are not superhuman . They do superhuman things sometimes, but we're human. And some of the expectations that our parents have for us and our school divisions have forced even our students have for us . They're unrealistic. And they're unsustainable. Now you have the choice of going along with it and trying to fulfill their every need and pretend that you are all things to all people, or you can be honest and there's a limit, I'm sorry, but there is a limit to what I can do. And it's also up to you. This is probably not going to be good news for some of you, but it's up to you to establish boundaries around your self so that you can keep yourself healthy and well and boundaries for your family, so that you create space and time to spend with your own children who are similarly traumatized and stressed and anxious to your students. So you've got a lot on your plate. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. I know that if you're in there, if you're teaching right now, whether you've been teaching for weeks or you're just getting ready to go back, you've got a lot on your plate and it feels overwhelming on occasion. I'm sure. So what you have to, the extent that you can to let that wash over you like a wave in the ocean, just for a moment, visualize being in the middle of, you know , of a wave there on the beach. Not so deep that you'll get swept away. We don't want any of that, but the wave comes up over you and you just let it go , go over you and past you. And then it disappears and goes back out into the ocean. Just let it wash over. You don't resist it. That only makes it worse. Don't pretend that it's not real, that it's not there. That you're not feeling the feelings that you have be true to yourself enough, that you recognize your own feelings and figure out, or get help with figuring out appropriate mechanisms for managing, but keep yourself healthy by practicing good nutrition habits, new , uh , keeping yourself hydrated, getting the sleep that you need and creating that it's feels sometimes mythical work-life balance, but you can do it. If you set boundaries. One of the things that you can choose to do is not bring home so much work. After the school day, you can select which activities you absolutely have to do with in the evening or which things you can get done at school. The next day, cut back on the amount of homework. If you have to that , you get the kids will know they'll they deserve a break to just remember that everybody's very fragile right now, including yourself and cut yourself. Some slack, cut your students, some slack, cut your parents. Some slack. Remember you're all in this together. You're all muddling along, making the best of a horrible situation, but there's nothing we can do except make the best of it. And that's what I'm urging you to do to figure out ways for you, that you can make the best of it because stress management is required. During these times. I have said many times, you may have heard me say it before stress gone. Unchecked will make you ill. It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when, when the illness will show up and how it will show up. If you are not eating properly and you have a predisposition to it, you may become diabetic. And then you have to deal with the stress of that. You may develop symptoms of hypertension and you have to deal with the fallout of that. Some people deal with stress through their gastrointestinal systems, and you may have to deal with that. But if you can manage your stress more proactively and effectively, you can at least delay the illness that may be waiting for you. And you may be able to defer it, completely keeping things at a calm level, as much as you can, will prolong not only your wellbeing , but your life expectancy. So be proactive in managing your stress and as a gift for you today, in case you haven't downloaded it, or you downloaded it previously and you lost track of it, I'm going to offer you a free copy of the ebook . I wrote a few years ago called stressed, stretched, and just plain overwhelmed. And in it, you will find seven specific strategies that I recommend to help you to proactively and more effectively manage your stress. Don't think that I don't know about stress. I have had plenty of stress in my life, and sometimes I've managed it better than others, but I wrote the book because I had experienced a period in my life when I had not managed it very well. And the miracle is that I did not get sick other than I did develop high blood pressure. And so I have to do with that. So please take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don't push yourself too hard as you get back into your school routine. And remember that you're not alone. There are people who are there to help. You want to help you and will help you. So that's it for this week, have a wonderful week. Stay well, stay safe, be on guard and try to get some rest so that you can tackle the stress that you have going on on a daily proactive basis. See you soon.

Speaker 1:

So there you have it. An episode of teachers in transition. I hope you enjoy 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 [email protected] . If you are interested in finding a new career or just enjoying your life more, this is the place to start. I'm Katie Boitnott and this is teachers in transition.