Why is teaching one of the most stressful jobs? If you look at the main sources of stress, the answer is clear.
Stress is normally associated to:
• a feeling of not having enough time
• a feeling of uncertainty
• a mix of both
It’s no wonder why moving, getting married, and having a baby are listed as the most stressful periods of one’s life. These are major life events that can change a person’s life drastically. However, just knowing the cause of your stress can make things a little bit more bearable. For me, when I feel burnt out, I like to think about one of my favorite quotes from a writing guru.
“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important, just lie down.” ~Natalie Goldberg
All right, you may not be able to lie down on your desk when you are supposed to be teaching about the past perfect, but you can remind yourself that stress only gets worse if you dwell on it for long enough.
Here are 5 Stress Busters you’ve probably already heard of before – but it’s always good to go over them again and make it a daily habit/routine.
1. Give Yourself a Break
The times when we are the busiest are the times when we need a break the most. What works best for me is to time block – I block out a few hours for lesson plans, for exercise, for reading, teaching, making phone calls, etc. And I focus on the task at hand ONLY. So, if it’s time to take a break it’s time to take a break.
Find out what a break feels like to you.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~ Etty Hillesum
2. Talk It Out
Don’t keep the reason for your stress all to yourself. Share your concerns with someone who may be able to help or even just listen. If you air out your stresses, sometimes they don’t seem so large. It’s also good to have a laugh so you can clear your mind!
3. Make a List
Making a list can help keep your day organized and way less stressful.
Every night write down 5-7 things that need to be done by the end of the following day. Try to tackle the item that is causing you the most stress first. For me, if I think I won’t have enough time to check my students’ work, I’ll prioritize that task. Give yourself a high five as you complete each task on your list.
4. Exercise The Stress Away
This is a classic DE stressor. What better way to clear your mind than to fill your body with endorphins? This is a perfect way to start OR end your day.
Exercising early in the day, helps you stay alert and focused on what needs to be done the rest of the day. On the other hand, exercising in the evening may relieve all the stress you’ve had all day.
5. Laugh At Your Own Expense
To piggyback on Stress Buster #2 on this list – LAUGH!
Ask your students to share their most embarrassing moment(s), story, or a favorite joke. Challenge them to make you laugh. That way you may even incorporate a learning activity into the fun. Never underestimate the power of laughter. If laughter doesn’t work, try some music.
“If I have the presence of mind to snap on some music, the day is saved nine times out of ten.” ~ a wise friend
Bruna Leandro is 31 years old and has been in the ELT field for about 3 years. She holds an Online English Teaching Certificate as well as the worldwide recognizable CELTA Certificate by Cambridge Assessment English. She also has an ESL Certificate by Harvard Extension School. Bruna lived in Boston - USA, for over 12 years where she graduated from High School and college. All these years gave her an extensive amount of experience with not only the English language but also the American culture.