Teachers: Say No to Burnout This School Year!


This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to teachers this autumn. Teachers: my colleagues and I at Nourish Integrative Health wanted to reach out and give you some support during this crazy time of year. Stay tuned for posts on managing work stress, easy and delicious lunch ideas, & more. Receive all posts by using the 'Subscribe' form on the sidebar and check out the Happy & Healthy Teachers wellness program we are currently offering at Nourish.

There is no doubt about it, entertaining, supervising, educating, and supporting a group of thirty 3-18 year olds, five days a week for ten months of the year has to be one of the most challenging jobs out there. It's no surprise to us that many of our teaching friends find themselves crashing at the end of each work day. Although we can't help you with unruly classes or difficult principals, we can help you help yourself feel better able to cope with the challenges of your job. Here's a few suggestions of things you can put into practice to avoid burnout this school year: 

1. Get a good sleep

Starting with an obvious one but here's a few tips on how to make it happen:

  • Practice good sleep hygiene 
    • Sleep in a dark room
    • Do your best to block out distracting sounds by using a fan or white noise machine
    • Don't use your bed for any activities besides sleeping
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
    • For teachers, this likely means getting to bed before 11:30pm. Why bother? Getting to bed earlier is not only going to lead to feeling more rested, but will help to support your metabolism, decrease depressive symptoms, and help balance the hormones that allow you to better cope with stress
  •  Have a snack before bed
    • If you find yourself waking up in the night, try having a small snack with some protein before bed. For some people, poor blood sugar regulation can lead to sleep disruption and a bedtime snack can be helpful. Try some almond butter on celery, hummus and rice crackers, or a bit more of whatever you had for dinner!

2. Make some of your free time screen-free time

It may not feel like it, but all that time you spend lying on your couch watching TV, browsing Facebook, or scanning Instagram on your phone, is actually much more stimulating than it is relaxing. Downtime spent reading, daydreaming, or just walking around outside is more rejuvenating and will do wonders to improve your sleep and mood  Schedule in some downtime into your schedule that is screen-free downtime - pick up a novel, put on some music, or go for a stroll - you'll feel better for it in the short term and the long term too. 

3. Move around

It's no accident that I'm telling you to move around instead of exercise. If the way you like to move around is something we generally consider 'exercise', than by all means, exercise! But if the word exercise makes your skin crawl, than forget I even mentioned it. What you really need to make a part of your regular life to avoid burnout is movement. Many teachers are lucky - you aren't necessarily sitting all day long, you at least get a bit of standing in the mix. Some of you may even be walking around at recess or crouching down by miniature desks. That being said, it's safe to say that nearly all of us in the working world are not doing nearly as much 'natural movement' (squatting, crouching, stepping, hopping, etc.) as we were engineered to do. I'm not asking you to hop to work, but I am suggesting that you make time for 'furniture free time' when you get home - sit or kneel on the floor to hang out with your kids, stand to have a drink with your honey - putting our bodies through a variety of positions throughout the day improves bloods and oxygen flow to all parts of our bodies including our brains, and will help to keep you feeling spry. 

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