In life, there will be times that you find more stressful than others – and what you may find a breeze to deal with, others may experience whilst feel a much higher deal of pressure, and in turn – stress. As a teacher or a parent – you are likely to have a high level of responsibility, and with responsibility – stress and pressure can naturally come hand in hand.
Stress on it’s own is not a bad thing:
– it is our bodies natural response to pressure, and often enables us to get more done – but when that stress level reaches a critical high, it can have an adverse effect, making us feel unwell, unable to perform at a high level, and our mental wellbeing can take a downturn. Not everyone struggling with stress gets a clinical diagnosis, but it is a mental health condition that should be taken seriously.
There are several strategies that you can use to keep your mental wellbeing on the up and prevent yourself from reaching that critical high. Prevention is better – you plug the boat up the minute you see a hole, don’t wait until the water is coming in fast!
- Positive self-talk: The narrative you provide yourself with, will shape your thoughts and feelings across the day – if you notice that you are feeling the impact of the pressures on you more than normal, a gentle reminder to speak to yourself as you would do a close friend, with kindness and encouragement will go along way.
- Rest: Ensure that you take time off, and get good, regular sleep. When your mind isn’t getting enough rest and is enduring the stress hormone cortisol, even your immune system can be compromised. You will recover better if it is allowed to rest!
- Fuel yourself with good food: When you are stressed, it may be easy to reach for comfort or “junk” foods. If this is likely to increase any negative self-talk or prevent you from resting – go for something nutritious instead. Not only will your body thankyou, but your mind will too.
- Free yourself and get outside: Whether you have been stuck in the house for work, with children, or in a classroom or office for hours on end. Moving releases endorphins, a change of scene is good to refresh your mind, and the sense of achievement from taking a walk, run or bike ride can sometimes be enough to spur you on when you are feeling like you just can’t keep going.
- Move away from media: If your social media feeds are fuelling the stressed feeling, take a break. Delete the apps, or remove them from your home screen if the temptation is too high. You can reconnect with a friend over the phone, read a book, or pick up your apron and do some baking. Something to slow down and disconnect from the world.
These strategies can be used alone, together, and repeated as many times as needed – only you will know what works best for you. If you are experiencing stress for long periods, without much improvement – talk to someone you trust, a family member, or your GP, who can refer you to professional help or assist you in recovery.