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3 tips to reduce anxiety and stress for teachers and educators

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Turns out, the new normal isn’t really all that ‘normal.’ 

COVID tore up the rulebook when it comes to education, forcing teachers and educators to adapt on the fly, updating and changing as they go. That uncertainty is creating unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety – and that’s not good for our mental health. 

But, there’s one key thing you absolutely need to remember when the waters start to get too high. It’s not just about the education. It’s also about the structure. The structure that educators are providing their students with right now – as chaotic as it might seem some days – is a protective factor when it comes to their long-term mental health and wellbeing.  

So, don’t worry about being perfect. Just being there for them, helping to reduce that chaos, is incredibly beneficial right now. It’s important to remember that, especially on those days when you’re struggling yourself. 

What other things should you try to remember? 

  1. It’s OK to not know how all this works.

Yes, you want to be in control and have all the answers. Who doesn’t? But, the reality is, that’s just not where we are right now – and that’s OK.  

In the near term, it’s about progress, not perfection. Control what you can control in the here and now. It’s too easy to get lost in the big picture and, to be honest, we don’t always have much control over that anyway. So, try to be active – not just reactive. Take control of the things you can, and make whatever positive changes you can make.  

Maybe you’ve always wanted to take an online course? Or upgrade your tech set-up? Whatever it is, do what is within your power to make your situation better. 

  1. Honesty is usually the best policy.

Kids and young adults are pretty savvy. They can generally sense when adults are making it up as they go along.  

So: be honest. In times like these, it’s reassuring for students to know that you’re figuring it out, too. The best approach might be to say: ‘This is a big adventure, let's do it together’, or ‘We're living history as it's being made.’ Then, get them to help. Get them involved in finding solutions.  

There are so many times in their lives when they will be facing the unknown and aren’t sure what they should do next. Show them how you problem solve, and what a calm, creative, honest leader looks like.  

  1. Look after yourself.

When you’re overwhelmed and constantly dealing with the next emergency, self-care often falls to the wayside. But we’re in a marathon, not a sprint, so taking care of your mental and physical health must be a priority for you.  

Here are a few practical tips: 

  • Try to maintain perspective – things will get better.
  • Establish a daily routine that balances work and personal life as best as you can.
  • Find ways to stay active, and if possible, get fresh air every day.
  • Give yourself a COVID timeout by limiting news consumption.
  • Consider relaxation techniques, like meditation or yoga.
  • Try to eat healthy, balanced meals and get adequate sleep every night.
  • Don’t isolate yourself – stay connected with friends and family. Even a 10-minute chat with a friend can do wonders for our mood. 

Maintaining your good mental health is critical – especially now when stressors are through the roof. If you need help, please reach out to us or complete your assessment to get started with therapy. 

"Start by accepting the increased uncertainty..."

Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.