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Your job as a teacher is one of the most important jobs in the world. It’s your job as an educator to take on the responsibility of preparing the next generation to take over from us and run society, and if that’s not high pressure, I don’t know what is.
And it’s no secret to you that teachers like you are constantly under pressure, and this can take a toll on your mental health.
Teachers would always selflessly put their students first, putting themselves last and forgetting about their own health and well-being.
Partly this is because teachers are always so busy and partly because they are so devoted to their jobs that they would rather do anything else but take some time off and rest!
But if you are not in good mental health conditions you won’t be able to do your job as well as you’re expecting to.
That’s why it’s important to step back and assess yourself and try to improve and maintain your mental health well being while you are going through the motion.
How can teachers improve their mental health? 6 Self-care Tips for Better Mental Well Being!
1.) Find a hobby that isn’t related to your job
If you’re looking to boost your mental health finding a hobby that isn’t related to teaching will do just that. Your mental health greatly influences your life more than you think, it affects how you think, how you feel, and how you react to all kinds of situations in life that you encounter.
Picking up a new hobby can be a great way to meet new people, make new friends, learn a new skill or something new, and more importantly, it’ll help keep you sane when you’re on a verge of breaking down from all the stress.
If you enjoy reading books, try out a book club or even start one of your own! If you see yourself as a writer try writing short stories or poems and try submitting them online so other can read ‘em too!
If you would like to be more active, try out a new sport or any outdoor activities that will help you take off your mind from teaching. You can try to join a hiking club or an intramural team in your school or community.
The amount of exercise you’ll do will help clear your head while having fun with other people who share similar interests with themselves.
Find an outlet that will let you express yourself in a very different manner from your job. You’ll be surprised to discover a different part of yourself that’s wanting to come out and explore what you’ve never known before.
2.) Devise a concrete plan for work-life balance
Setting up goals for yourself can be both a challenge and a great way to plan for work-life balance. If you’re feeling a little unmotivated, it may seem like there’s no end to the dilemma that you are facing right now.
However, when you decide to take matters into your own hand and really think about want you want in life and what you want to gain, it’s surprising how much clarity you’ll gain. See things from a new perspective and know that there’s always a solution to whatever adversary is ahead.
As an example, you know that it’s never healthy to overwork yourself. So try set boundaries and try to be home on time every day. Your home is your safe space and it should also be a sanctuary for you where you’re free from worrying about deadlines.
And to make it possible for you to make more time at home think back to what makes this goal more achievable—maybe it’s taking shorter breaks in between classes during busy weeks to make way for additional tasks that you need to attend to.
This is so that there’ll be less pressure from your workload because you’re sacrificing a bit of your time to make sure that they’re finished before deadlines.
Calculate whatever steps it is necessary for you to take, ultimately it will be up to you. It’s good to keep in mind that mapping out an actionable plan ahead of time will allow you to feel prepared and less pressured when things start to get tough down the road.
3.) Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep and exercise regularly
One of the most important things that you can do for your mental well-being is to make sure that you’re sleeping enough and that you’re keeping yourself active.
Most of us take for granted how important sleep is not only for our physical health but also for our mental health as well. It greatly impacts our mood and also influences our critical thinking skills which are important attributes for teachers in the classroom.
Studies have shown that people who are chronically sleep deprived have a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety, whereas people who are getting enough shut-eye are much happier and healthier overall.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain as it disrupts the hormones that regulate the body’s hunger and fullness levels. And that means that even if your diet is on point, as long as your body is only getting 6 hours or less of sleep it can still have an unhealthy impact on your body.
Try to set a bedtime routine and create an alarm for it so that you’ll have no excuses to go to bed on time. If you’re having trouble sleeping early, take a hot bath and drink chamomile tea, it will help relax tensed muscled as well as provide something soothing for your busy mind.
4.) Seek support from friends, families, and professionals
The stress of teaching can be quite overwhelming, even for seasoned teachers. Every now and keeping up with your friends and families can be a great mental health booster because companionship yields a multitude of long-term physical and emotional health benefits.
Strong social connections with your family and friends can greatly offset unhealthy stressors in your life.
Even if it’s just a dinner with them or hanging out with them have a go at it. It’s highly crucial to have a good support system, especially with a pandemic ongoing and with everything that’s going around the world.
And while it’s true that teachers are encouraged to be independent, they also need encouragement from others in order to maintain healthy sanity levels.
And if you feel like your mental health is suffering because of your job, consider seeking professional help as well. Remember, no man is an island, especially a teacher whose responsibility is to make sure that 30 kids or more are successful in achieving their aspirations in life.
5.) Don’t skimp on a brain-healthy diet
When you take care of your body, you’re also taking care of your mental health. So it only makes sense that you need to make sure that your diet consists of brain-healthy foods that are low in sugar and rich in healthy fats.
Once you start eating healthy, you’ll notice that you’ll have increased focus, a better mood, and you’ll also gain clarity as well. Trust your gut and try to learn what foods you need to cut out and what foods are best for you to add to your diet.
Try to lessen your caffeine intake, any food that is high in trans fat, foods with any high level of preservatives, sugary foods, and refined foods. And boost your intake of fresh whole foods, fresh cut fruits and juices, good fats (avocado and fish that are high in omega-3), and leafy greens.
Try to slowly incorporate the colors of the rainbow into your diet, and see how you’ll improve your overall physical health and mental health as well.
6.) Take a few moments to meditate each day
It can be hard to find time to meditate, but it’s worth it. For example, a recent study found that participants experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety after only eight weeks of daily mindfulness training. The researchers also concluded that the benefits last even after the training stops.
If you’re not familiar with meditation, there are many different types of meditation techniques out there. Some focus on your breath or body sensations; others involve repeating words or phrases in your mind like affirmations; some might require sitting quietly for a certain amount of time each day while focusing on nothing but your breathing (and maybe some background music). The key is finding one that works for you and sticking with it!
So it seems,
When it comes down to it, teaching is really tough and it’s not always a smooth ride, and it can take a real toll on your mental health.
It’s important for teachers like you to do everything they can to protect themselves from burnout and stress and keep your mental health protected at all costs.
I hope these tips have helped you see how easy it is to get started improving your work-life balance and taking care of yourself in other ways as well.
It may seem like hard work at first, but trust me—by doing this now, you’ll be making the rest of your life much easier (and happier) in the long run!
Until our next one!