Are you a teacher? Do you have anxiety? (Those answers are both yes for me). Whether you deal with anxiety on a day to day basis or are just anxious about the many stressors that comes with teaching, here are some ways for Working Through Teacher Anxiety.
- Allow yourself to not to accomplish everything on your to-do list. As teachers, we are SUPER busy while we are teaching. Say to yourself, it’s OK that I did not get everything. It’s OK. I look at my to-do list as a working document. I know that for every one thing I cross off, I will add something else because a teacher’s job is never done.
- Designate time for you, your family, and teaching. For the longest time, I would work, work, work. More seasoned teachers would always caution me about working so much but I figured if I could just get more done I would sleep better. The thing is, there is ALWAYS something to do and you won’t sleep better because the list is never complete. Once I had children I really understood this. You don’t have time to do it all BUT you can say today I will work on teaching for 2 hours and then be done. Set yourself some limits and stick to them. This will help hugely with the feeling of anxiety.
- Stay busy. This sort of piggybacks on above. If you have nothing to do for yourself or your family, teachers default to working on school stuff. No. Put it down, go get a pedicure, go play a board game with your kids. If you don’t make the effort, you will default back to your giant to-do list. Likewise, if you are working on school stuff, STAY OFF FACEBOOK and Pinterest. If you are anything like me, social media is a part of my relaxation strategy (when done in moderation) and so when I am working I say away. It’s too easy to get distracted and feel like you are busy when you are really not and the next thing you know is that your 2 hours is done and you got nothing done except finding 18 more things to do for your class.
- Talk to yourself. Sounds crazy but I do this a lot. I stop what I am doing. I say to myself in my head literally “I am letting go of everything right now.” I do this to clear my head so I can talk to myself logically about situations. Depending on what is causing the stress, I will say something to myself to acknowledge that it’s OK and I got this. Another thing I will say is “I am letting go of”. It sounds really crazy, but it helps to clear your mind, acknowledge, and move on.
- Act like everything is ok. Now, I am not telling you to avoid your emotions. Trust me, I get it. But, the way you can make everything OK is by acting OK. By making a conscious choice to be OK with your situation, you just may start to feel OK. (It’s a counseling concept called cognitive dissonance).
- Be healthy. Again, goes a little with everything else mentioned above, but still very important. Excercise can help. Eating right can help.
- Accept that everything is not Pinterest perfect. Images on Pinterest and other social media platforms are made to be shared and the way that this is done is to make them look perfect and pretty. The thing is, that may be real for a few teachers, but it is not really for 99% of the teachers out there. I never had a Pinterest perfect classroom, just the same as my house and our meals are not Pinterest perfect. Just remember to keep it all in perspective.
- Avoid toxic people and situations. If you have anxiety, it is SO important for you to surround yourself with people who uplift you. My anxiety is mostly based around having the time to do everything and if I am wasting my time on things (or people) that are bringing me down it is not healthy. I make a conscious effort to surround myself with others who uplift me and you should too. Now, I understand that sometimes you are forced to work with people who are not the most positive, but you can make the choice.
- Talk to someone you trust. A teacher friends, the Simply Kinder Teacher Facebook Group, a family member. (I would caution you about talking to your significant other though because you don’t want this to interfere with your day to day relationships).
- Talk to a professional if you need. There is NOTHING wrong with getting counseling for professional reasons. I have been there and it can help HUGELY.
There you have it. Some ways that I keep my anxiety under control. Do you have any tips for keeping it under control? Please share in the comments below because it could REALLY help out another teacher.