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Ever get that feeling that you are being swallowed by your work? The feeling of being overwhelmed makes you think anxiously as time passes by without having any progress? Or totally losing your motivation to work?
It’s a sign that your well-being and mental health are at risk. All people experience stress, especially teachers who often go through high-level stress that can impact their capability to work.
And of course, just like any other person, your mental health should be your first priority. In order to perform well at work, you should be able to free your mind and relax so that you are ready to impart teachings to your aspiring students.
But if you must ask, why is it important for teachers to prioritize and take care of their mental health? Here are some of the many reasons why teacher mental health matters.
WHY TEACHER MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
1.) You are still just a person
As much as your precious students admire you, at the end of the day you are still just a person. It’s understandable that you are engulfed by your work since I can only imagine the paperwork of the students and of the school that you handle every day.
Don’t keep your emotions bottled up just because you’re a professional, this can further agitate both your physical and mental health. There are times that you should keep your emotions to yourself but see to it that you let it out at times to cope up.
I know many teachers who are all so hardworking to the point that they overexert themselves just to submit paperwork, meet deadlines, encode grades, and many more duties.
You’re not fueled by gas, you’re no robot that can run continuously—take a break. The more you work without paying attention to your health can cause you to lose motivation.
The job of a teacher is fulfilling, just the thought of imparting knowledge and helping your students grow is a great achievement for you but it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your mental health.
Taking a breather can help you alleviate the stress and positively rework your emotions.
Acknowledging and accepting your emotions is the key to keeping your mental health at bay. And remember that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to feel what you need to feel, and it’s okay to let out these emotions because you’re still you—a human.
2.) You will make others worried.
If you’re still trying to deny the fact that you are pushing yourself too far then think about those people that care about you; watching you struggle.
Since you are overloaded with your work and emotions, you might not even notice the people that matter in your life—whether it may be your family, friends, partner, colleagues, or even your students.
Outside your perspective, these people can see how you are dealing with the stressors you encounter.
They will try and get you out of stressful situations to relax with them so see to it that you take up on their offer. It will be a good chance for you to socialize and keep your mind off of work and other factors that contribute to your anxiousness.
Your students can also see what you are going through. Sometimes when we are feeling off, we might not notice that there is something different in the way we act.
Of course, your students will be able to notice a change in your persona. They can easily say that you are not in your best condition, and it will make them worried as most students admire their teachers.
The people who worry about you understand that you are having a hard time so don’t be embarrassed if you want to let out your problems, they are willing to listen and lend a shoulder for you to cry on.
Don’t ever think that you are burdening them with your problems, trust me that it will make them less worried and happy if you confide in them.
3.) It will physically wear you out.
You only have one mind in one body, so if one is not doing well then it affects the other. The stress can get in your mind, it will render you helpless in articulating your thoughts and emotions. As this continues, the stress will slowly build up and lead to sleep deprivation.
Sleep is an important way for your mind and body to rest, if you are having trouble falling asleep then it will tire you further; both mentally and physically.
To avoid this, try to let out your emotions by speaking with people you trust. Just the act of saying the things you want to say to other people can help relieve you in more ways than you can imagine, it may not be a way to solve your problems entirely but it can still help you cope.
You can even find help by using fidget toys and stress toys. As long as you direct your emotions and thoughts somewhere else, and in a healthy way, then it will help in elevating your spirits and keeping your mind and body healthy.
4.) It’s harder for you to focus.
A teacher’s job is meticulous in a way where your need to handle teaching your students, grade each of their works, make a progress report to the school, and even handle your students’ parents.
As the school year is still in session, work will always continue for you even at weekends. It is important for you to keep your focus and clear your thoughts to get work done, but if you are having problems then it will be hard for you to accomplish your work.
The stress can get to you, and if you refuse to take a break and relax then the stress will follow you while you are trying to meet deadlines; thus, making you lose focus and will even contribute greatly to your stress.
Work can easily get stressful, especially if there is countless paperwork that needs to be graded, submitted, and reported in a short time. It can be overwhelming and it’s understandable to feel that way.
The only way for you to keep your focus is to unwind and let your mind relax. Although it can be a bit repetitive, this advice is a sure-fire way to help in clearing your mind. When working, try drinking some chamomile tea. It can help you relax, soothe, and reduce your anxiety.
5.) Your feelings matter.
Everyone is validated by what they feel, that includes yours. Despite the struggles, and stressful situations that you have encountered all of the things you are feeling and thinking matter.
If you find yourself having a hard time at work, like meeting deadlines and such then you can tell the head of the school that you need a bit more time for you to submit your paperwork. There is no problem with being honest and requesting more time, if it will be better for you that way then say so.
I know that there are strict rules that you need to follow as a teacher but if it greatly affects your mental health then try to request at least one day off.
I have friends who are teachers and if they are beginning to feel off in working, they always spend a day away from work—they focus on their self-being and try to keep up with their friends and family.
Afterward, they would go back to work in top shape! So don’t be afraid to request at work, especially if you rarely even request.
Your work is important but keep in mind that your feelings matter, and you should always listen to what you feel. Don’t try to keep it in, release it in a healthy manner for your benefit.
All things considered,
Teachers’ mental health matters just like everyone’s mental health. In our current situation of an ongoing pandemic, the stress from work and world problems can be overwhelming—it will induce fear and anxiety in our hearts that can cause a strong feeling of emotions bursting inside us.
In my experience, all of the teachers I know all share resiliency and strong conviction but even if they are considered professionals, they are still people like us.
Teachers like you can still feel negatively and it can weigh them down, that’s why it is important for you to address those emotions and problems so it doesn’t take a toll on your mental health.
If you are feeling distressed right now then inform your loved ones so that they can help you go through what you are going through, and it is best for you to seek professional help as well.
Always remember that your feelings matter, your emotions are valid, and it’s okay for you to not be okay because all of us go through problems that are sometimes too much for us, and all we can do is try and fight it together with others that matters to us and is worried for us.
And that’s my two cents on why a teacher’s mental health matters. If you have a teacher friend who needs to read this, don’t hesitate to share it with them.
Until our next one, remember to always make your mental health a priority!