Teachers nowadays are often stressed; they work overtime, they have piles of paperwork to complete, and at the same time, they have all their students to take care of. Various responsibilities and conflicts at work can add to their feelings of anxiety. All this can be a significant weight on their backs.
That’s the reason why teachers, now more than ever, need to look after their mental health. Mental health problems can seriously affect physical health and well-being. As the Dutch humanist Erasmus said, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Ways to safeguard your mental health
Give your time
Spend time with your friends and family or become a volunteer at your favourite place.
Make time for yourself. Join that Boxing fitness class you always wanted to, or start walking to your local supermarket.
Teachers are lifelong learners; in our profession, we learn new things every day. That’s why it is essential to learn stuff outside our field of expertise, as well. Why not start learning that foreign language you always fancied when you were in high school, or join that knitting club in your neighbourhood?
Do you ever wonder how time flies by without you managing to do the things you always wanted to or finding a chance to spend time with your loved ones? Take a moment, notice the things and people around you, think about what you like and appreciate in your life, and focus on that.
Go out with friends or become an active member of your community. Meet people, talk things over, share your thoughts and experiences. Always stay in touch with your loved ones, even if you don’t have time to meet up with them.
Create boundaries between home and school
Whatever happens, try to leave everything behind once school is over for the day; your concerns about your students, your conflict with that colleague, and the reports you have to write. Do your best not to take work home with you. If you have a deadline, consider staying at school for an extra hour or so to complete what you have to do. Your home time should be stress-free, which means work-free. Enjoy being with your family and doing the things you love.
These are some simple suggestions you can make use of to protect your mental health. Whatever you choose to do, value yourself. You are not only a teacher; you are a person with a life outside school, a parent, a partner, a friend. You are not a machine. Take care of yourself.
Being a good teacher requires you to feel good about yourself. Our students need good teachers. Teachers with mental health issues can’t teach efficiently, and as a result, their students’ learning is negatively affected.
Always remember this: in an emergency, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first.
Are you worried about your mental health? Have a look here and take the test.
Further reading here.
Sara Tsompanidi is a content writer, based in Edinburgh. Her educational background in primary teaching and her multicultural experiences have given her a broad base to approach education topics. She especially enjoys sharing her experiences and providing practical advice to educators, who are making their first steps in Scotland.
(You can contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org or find more about her here: https://twitter.com/STsompanidi)