By Susan Jerrell, TOFT Founder
Take a quick break to relieve stress
Give yourself a break. A mind break, a physical break, a spiritual break, whatever you need to recharge. Even on the busiest of teaching days, a quick break will relieve stress so you can finish the day. Five minutes or less is all you need.
Try one of these 5 tips
Take a walk
Whether it is around the building or a quick step outside, get up and get moving. Teacher breaks are short, but find 5 minutes during lunch, when your students are at specials or during a planning period. During that 5 minute walk, do not use your phone, just breathe and walk.
Depending on the time of year, if you can go outside, breathe in the air, feel the sunshine on your face or feel the cold wind hit your face. Close your eyes and just breathe deeply in through your nose, out through your mouth. Let each exhale take away some of your stress, frustration or anger, and let each inhale replenish you with peace.
It feels good to laugh, and there is a scientific reason for that. Laughter releases endorphins, sometimes called the “feel good hormones.” These can stimulate the feelings of pleasure and even help relieve pain.Check out this article from Forbes for more info on the value of adding laughter to your life.
Surround yourself with colleagues that make you laugh, bookmark some funny Youtube videos, save funny memes and don’t be afraid to laugh with your students. It will be good for them and for you.
Write in a journal
Many teachers have their students write journals, but neglect to do a journal themselves. Instead of going to vent to your colleagues, write down your thoughts. Read them, and then decide what to do about them. In addition to writing about things that bother you, write down something positive. These positive thoughts help relieve stress and refocus your attention. Even in the most trying times, there is something to be grateful for.
I suggest you keep the positive thoughts to read when you need a reminder on the days that really have you down. I also suggest you destroy the negative thoughts you wrote about, so you can let them go.
Sometimes you simply cannot take a break or get away, even for five minutes, but you can feel the stress rising. Pop in a stick of gum. A study showed that chewing gum could reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression and lead to a more positive mood.
Listen to music
Music, especially slow, quiet classical music, can produce a relaxing effect on both body and mind. It can slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease the levels of stress hormones. Try listening to music before school, in between classes, at lunch, during breaks, or better yet, have some playing when the kids walk in the classroom and see if it has an affect on them as well.
These five small steps can go a long way to help you relieve stress and help you refocus, to face the rest of your day. Take five minutes and give it a try.