Anytime you walk into a new situation, whether it’s a classroom at the beginning of the year or a new type of classroom in mid-year, there is stress. I talked in my last post about ways to promote a positive outlook. Today I want to share 5 more tips to have less stress and more success in your classroom.
We all know that our state of mind contributes to the well being of your classroom as much as anything else. Achieving a point of less stress gives you more bandwidth to focus on the tasks that need to be done to manage change.
1. AVOID DRAMA
This might be the hardest tip of all. Our lives are filled with DRAMA. From the news, to the teacher down the hall, to social media.
Some drama is unavoidable. A family member going through a divorce. A child’s family whose parents are divorcing and you are in the middle, or a mother who is concerned about her child. BUT a lot of the drama is created and expanded in a school or work environment. And it saps your energy. It steals your time. And it feeds on itself.
This is my iPhone lock screen. I see it every time I pick up my phone.
It reminds me to focus on my own stuff and avoid the drama. Sometimes it just helps to have a little reminder.
Want to download it? Right click and save it to your phone.
And, you know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff?” I had a colleague who taught me that almost everything we might get worked about was just DRAMA.
2. Ask for Help
THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP! Asking for help does NOT mean you aren’t capable, trained and a ninja rockstar. We ALL need help at one time or another.
If you have encountered a student, a class, a parent or a colleague and you aren’t sure what to do…reach out! Ask someone. Don’t worry what people will think of you.
Not asking for help is so much more of a problem than asking. In fact, when I was an administrator of a program, the teachers who came with questions and asked for help were typically my best teachers.
So whether you are a brand new teacher or a 30-year vet, don’t forget we all need a little help at times.
Right now…stop what you are doing and take 3 deep breaths! It’s OK, I”ll wait.
Feel better? Sometimes we just need to stop and take a breath.
Did you know that practicing mindfulness or just stopping and engaging in some deep breathing can help reduce stress and increase confidence? Can you make good decisions when you are overwhelmed and strung out on life? No.
So, two or three times a day, stop and take some deep breaths. Take some time to BREATHE before you make a decision about what to do about a problem.
We spend time teaching many of our students to use deep breathing….why don’t we use it ourselves?
I know this one sounds trite, but it’s all too easy to just eat what we can grab. But like moving, EATING RIGHT is essential to keep you going. During my internship I became an expert at eating out of vending machines. And I found I crashed every afternoon.
Eating right takes time. It takes preparation and planning. But, taking that time gives you more energy and strength during the day and more energy at the end of the day for the people who are in your life.
5. STEP AWAY AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
And the final tip is that you need to STEP AWAY from the situation and see the BIG PICTURE. The rest, relaxation strategies, spending time with family, focusing on the positive…that’s what almost all of these tips lead up to. Focusing on on the big picture.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the small things and the day-to-day and forget where you started, how far you have come, and focus on the problems. Take time each day to step away from those things and focus on the overall purpose of what you are doing.
It might during your REFLECTION time. It might be when you are MOVE-ing. It might be while you are remembering to BREATHE. Whenever it is…take time each day to think about what you are doing here and the difference you are making.
Because you are making a difference…even if you don’t see it everyday.
The community within the Special Educator Academy sparked most of the ideas for this post, come check us out. Our community is positive, supportive and designed to help teachers feel less isolated.
Until next time,