5 Tips To Deal With Anxiety
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
It was only going to be a matter of time until this blog post arrived... This topic is close to my heart and I am on a mission to help teachers be the best they can be without having to compromise a happy state of mind. Sadly, teaching and good mental health don't always go hand in hand. Our daily lives have increased in pace so much and I put this down t the accessibility of technology. Most schools I work with have banks of laptops and/ or iPads. The interactive whiteboards are never switched off! Teachers make powerpoints because teaching a concept via a PPT is far quicker than drawing, cutting out and laminating practical hands on resources. We are all about efficiency and how many jobs can be done in the least amount of time. But what about when you just can't think clearly anymore? Or quickly? And you know those jobs need to be done? Your heart is pounding and your anxiety levels are rising...
You need to step back and remember...
YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.
Suggestion 1: Communicate
You are not alone. Explaining how you are feeling can take a load off. I do think there is a difference between off-loading and having a moan though, so think about the what you are expecting from the other person. Don't be afraid to speak out and tell someone that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and ask for advice. It is important for your team in your school to know how you are feeling so that you can get the right support. You never know, a problem that has been troubling you could be a doddle for someone else and they could help sort out your problem or ease your mind. You won't know unless you communicate.
Suggestion 2: Read
I have found that self-help books including Stephen Covey's 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' and 'The Rules of Life' by Richard Templar are good reads that give both advice and a little pick-me-up. I read a page of Templar's book each night and it's just enough to get me refocused on myself and my family, rather than what I need to do the next morning. Gretchen Rubin's book, 'The Happiness Project' is a good one too (I listened to this one on Audible in the car). Gretchin set herself different challenges over the course of a year, in order to find more happiness in her everyday life. Could you set yourself your own happiness project? Could you choose three things each month that you are going to pay special attention to? This could be a good suggestion if you find much of your time is taken up with school work and less on your own personal life.
Suggestion 3: Exercise
I recently took a personality test online as recommended by a friend (thanks Lucy!) It turns out I am a protagonist ENFJ. I was excited to find Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama are also like me! Anyway... I did some further research on this and teachers often fall into this group. Exercise is one of the best forms of medicine for these personality types. Okay, I admit my source of this information was a You Tube clip, but I found myself agreeing with every statement, including that exercise makes this personality type feel better. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been meeting my work friends before school for a Joe Wicks HIT session. It literally takes 15 minutes and we are ready to go for the day. Grab a couple of friends and make it happen. Be the one to get everyone together and make a difference in your school.
Suggestion 4: Meditate
You may not think its for you, but don't knock it until you've tried it! I started going to yoga on a Tuesday evening a few weeks ago and I remember the teacher saying it is a practice, not something that you will achieve in instantly. The final pose we do is the easiest, yet the hardest to stay in (imagine lying like a star on the floor, eyes closed) and it's because you have to stay still...and as teachers...it is unnatural to be still for any longer than about 30 seconds (if you are like me that is!) So what is my point? Meditation helps clear the mind. You can set yourself an intention and it is whatever YOU want. Take the time to enjoy the peace without being pestered or needed by anyone else other than yourself. The Calm app has guided meditations where Tamara will talk you through dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety or even a meditation to do for a couple of minutes at work. Get in touch with Calm for a free sch
Suggestion 5: Be productive
Beat decision-fatigue by being organised and sticking to goals you set yourself. This academic year I have used my diary in a completely different way. I now write jobs that need to be done on a particular day and use my electronic calendar for important dates and meetings. It means that I can spread out jobs that need to be done in time to meet the deadline without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount to get through. This has increased my productivity. In a previous blog, I mention the Eisenhower matrix, which is a way of planning out jobs that should be completed in the short term, long term or can be delegated to someone else. Maybe it could help keep anxiety at bay if you try some of the tips there. Here is the link...
Take the time to bring it all back to you. You need to help yourself to help someone else.
This post was originally posted on Laura Ellen Blog on 9th February 2020