I love being a teacher. It’s such a rewarding career, and it is such a privilege to get to be able to teach, inspire, and empower today’s youth. However, as wonderful as being a teacher is, it’s also a demanding profession. Throughout the year so many teachers feel overworked, overstressed, and underpaid. These three factors lead to teacher burnout, and alarming statistics show that the teaching profession loses many promising educators within their first five years on the job.
As a teacher, it’s essential to maintain self-care. Here’s a list of 25 ways to help teachers avoid teacher burnout.
1. Keep positive notes from current and previous students in an easy-to-access folder or drawer. If you are ever feeling underappreciated or undervalued, look at these notes.
2. Make some favorable calls home. After a rough day, one of the last things you might want to do is stay after school to call parents. However, select a student who has shown improvement and make a positive call home. Not only will it make the parent’s day, but it might be enough to bring up your spirits.
3. Practice meditation.
4. Do yoga.
5. Take an art class. Some art classes even provide wine. For some people, this might be the best way to unwind after a long day of teaching.
6. Take a mental health day. Sometimes, you just need a day off. One important rule to follow when taking a mental health day is DO NOT THINK ABOUT WORK. Trust me, I know it’s hard. And as an English teacher, it’s tough not to take off a day to grade. However, that defeats the whole purpose of a mental health day.
7. Unplug! Choose a day and completely unplug. By doing so, you’ll escape the pressure from email and social media.
8. Do not add your work email to your cell phone. While it’s nice to have access 24/7 to what may seem like super pressing emails from students at 7 in the evening, those emails can wait. Either go into work twenty minutes earlier or stay twenty minutes later to handle email communications. By leading emails at school, you’ll remove some stress from your life.
9. Ask for help. Often we take on more than we can handle with blind optimism. Don’t wait until you feel so overwhelmed that it affects your job performance. Ask for help, and ask for help early on. Collaborate with your colleagues and plan together. Even if it means meeting during lunch or before school once a week, the extra support will help.
10. Say no. It is okay to say no to people, especially at work. If you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed, the last thing you need is an extra duty or deadline.
11. Journal. I love these Erin Condren journals. The covers are so pretty, and the paper is high-quality so your pens won’t bleed through.
12. Read something for enjoyment.
13. Plan a spa day. You work hard, and sometimes you need to treat yourself!
14. Go for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride. Feeling the warm sun grace your skin will instantly set you at ease. Plus, the release of endorphins will help release some tension too!
15. Go on a picnic with your favorite people. Perhaps your favorite people include your family and children, or maybe it’s your besties. Whoever you picnic with, food, good company, and laughter will brighten your day.
16. Try a new recipe.
17. Play video games.
18. Binge-watch television.
19. Go to the movies. You will enjoy the night out and entertainment.
20. Leave your grading at school, especially over the weekend. The weekends are for you. Leave your grading at school so that you can truly relax and enjoy the two days off of school.
21. Go shopping. It isn’t called retail therapy for nothing. And while you’re at it, make sure to remember to ask if they offer teacher discounts!
22. Plant and nurture a garden.
23. Take a group exercise class. The excitement in group exercise classes is contagious. You’ll leave feeling thoroughly exhausted and refreshed at the same time.
24. Plan a weekend staycation. In doing so, you’ll get to have some quality time with the people you love while seeing your town in a new perspective.
25. If none of these help you, count all of the days you’ve been in school. Now tell yourself that for these many days you’ve been helping, teaching, and inspiring students. For these many days, you’ve been a constant in a student’s life. For these many days, you’ve made a positive impact.