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Prevent Stress in the Classroom: 5 Tips

EducationWorld is pleased to share these stress-fighting tactics from HeartMath, widely recognized for its science-based stress solutions.

According to the new MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership, 51 percent of teachers report that they feel great stress in their job at least several days a week.

While you may find great joy in educating today’s youth, it’s safe to say that spending time in the classroom every day is not an easy one. This buildup of negative stress can cause serious physiological effects such as hair loss and headaches, and cognitive effects such as reduced memory, lower energy levels and depression.

As a teacher, it is important that you not only keep your cool in front of students, but also learn how to combat stress so you remain calm and collected outside of the classroom. Your health, family and sanity will thank you.

To discover if you’re prone to certain types of stress, complete a self-stress assessment from the American Institute of Stress.

Then try these suggestions for helping reduce stress in the classroom this year.

  1. Don’t play teacher at home.  Keep your teaching habits in the classroom. Don’t scold, correct or try to control every situation. Try being more relaxed at home and with friends.
  2. Spend time with nature.  Consider holding classes outdoors if the weather (and your school) will allow. Incorporate light exercise into your after-school routine, take a walk on your lunch break or volunteer for bus duty outside. A little fresh air and exercise can immediately lift your spirits.
  3. Fun isn’t only for summer.  It can be easy to say, “When summer break rolls around, I’ll have time to…” Make sure you’re doing what you love all year round. Stay active with hobbies, friends, family and a normal adult life, even when you’re in “teacher mode” during the day. Maintaining social relationships outside of school will bring you a great sense of fulfillment both in and out of the classroom.
  4. Consider high-tech tools to help you de-stress.  Explore stress-relieving iOS apps, including HearthMath’s Inner Balance trainer, which provides a three-step technique and real-time feedback to help you retrain your mind-body response to stress. Many Android apps also are available for stress relief.
  5. Be prepared.  Give your mind the much-needed mental break it needs each day. Set a time you will leave for home, and stick with it. Or, pick a few crucial tasks on your to-do list and allow yourself to go home and relax after you’ve completed them. Start early on your lesson plans from home over the summer, so you can spend less time cranking them out the two weeks before school starts.

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Updated: 04/18/2015