In 10 Stress-Busting Secrets of Great Teachers from Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher shares tips to decrease stress. She gives wonderful suggestions and I thought I would add some more notes to what she mentions. Her tips are in bold and my comments follow each tip.
“Stress Busting Secret #1: [MENTAL] Kill Worry By Accepting the Worst and Working to Improve It.”
It is impossible for me to turn worry off. I wish there was an on/off switch but there isn’t. I started keeping a small notebook by my bed and when I wake up with my mind racing and worry sets in, I jot down the things I’m worried about. Then I decided that I am leaving it in the notebook and will worry about it tomorrow. This seems to help me because I can pretend that I transferred the worry to the book. I know it doesn’t solve the problem or do away with the worry, but I feel like it gives me a break.
“Secret #2: [MENTAL] Interrupt Negative Thought Loops and Replace Them With Positive Ones”
I think we all get in the habit of tearing ourselves down. I was watching an old Parenthood episode and the grandfather told someone that life has a way of tearing us down so we shouldn’t do it to ourselves. I have a little daily motto that I say to myself every morning. When I start feeling bad about myself, I say this motto in my head.
“Secret #3: [MENTAL] Keep a Joy Journal”
I don’t write a lot of my joys down even though I wish I would get in the habit. I do list 3 things that I’m thankful for before I get out of bed each morning.
“Secret #4: [PHYSICAL] Make Sleep a Priority”
This is hard for me because I don’t sleep well. I wake up at 5am no matter what time I go to bed so I try to be in bed by 10pm if at all possible. I am trying to NOT using electronics (laptop, cell phone, iPad) after 8pm.
“Secret #5: [PHYSICAL] Drink Enough Water”
I am very bad about this because I don’t like water. I do drink unsweetened ice tea which I know isn’t as good as water. I try to drink one glass of water for every glass of tea that I drink.
“Secret #6: [PHYSICAL] Exercise (preferably outside)”
I do love to exercise. I love to walk. I try to walk an hour every day on the treadmill when we are home because it is easy to get stuck in front of the computer or the TV. When we travel, we get lots of exercise. I even knit and walk slowly on the treadmill in the winter.
“Secret #7: [SPIRITUAL] Make Time for Faith”
I say a lot of prayers throughout the day. It usually gives me peace.
“Secret #8: [RELATIONAL] Develop deep relationships”
I developed a support system of different people that helps me in days that I feel down and also who are there that celebrate when I have victories.
“Secret #9: [RELATIONAL] Make Physical Affection Part of Your Day”
My husband gives me a hug and a kiss every day. Some of our students never get any kind of affection but with today’s worries about touching our students, I would suggest doing high fives or fist bumps. Smaller children are going to hug whether you like it or not. Sometimes a pat on the shoulder or back is appropriate. You need to assess your students to determine what is appropriate.
“Secret #10: [TECHNOLOGY] Unplug, Recharge, and Focus”
I have interests outside the classroom and make sure I nurture these hobbies. I like to garden, read, travel, knit and spin my own yarn. I try to make time to do one of these things every day and don’t allow the excuse that “I don’t have time” to cause me not to do this. I think this is one of the most important things we can do so we don’t get burned out.
What other suggestions do you have? What comments would you add to the ones already listed? Please share.