You’ve made it through DEVOLSON (the dark, evil vortex of late September, October, and November). Congrats! But as the winter break looms ahead, you may feel the stress begin to creep back in.
Try any (or all!) of these options to build your support network, get organized, and practice self-care during your time off—and kick off 2020 feeling focused, fresh, and happy at work.
Build Your Support Network
1. Remind yourself that you are not alone! Every teacher deals with burnout, and it does not mean that you’re a bad teacher.
2. Plan a teachers-only party with your colleagues at which you can commiserate, share advice or lesson plans, and let off some steam.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. If you hang out with Negative Nellies and Douglas Downers, they are burning you out. Change your social circle, especially at school.
4. Follow intelligent, positive, forward-thinking educators. Twitter is loaded with inspiring educators, and many super teachers blog about their struggles and successes.
5. Use an online calendar such as Google Calendar or iCal to organize your life. Use color-coding to keep school, personal, and family items separate.
6. Make lists. Writing things down reduces the stress of having to remember them—and the act of writing actually helps you remember. Plus, crossing off finished items from a to-do list feels great.
7. Evaluate your processes. Can something be more streamlined? More fun? Can you delegate parts to students? Can you use an electronic or online tool? Regular assessment keeps you fresh, engaged, and efficient.
8. Plan your meals. When stress rears its head, it’s easy to resort to unhealthy packaged food, heavy comfort food, or fast food. Take time on the weekend to plan healthy meals for the week so you won’t succumb.
9. Have a life. Go out at night, do a hobby, see movies, play fantasy baseball, renovate a room in your home, take long bike rides, go to parties, travel, play soccer, or learn to ride a unicycle. A diversified life is a non-burned-out life.
10. Don’t do anything. Just listen. Or walk. Or walk and listen. Dream, procrastinate, think big, think silly, or don’t think at all. Teachers tend to feel guilty if they’re not being productive, but unproductive time can actually help you become more productive.
11. Take a staycation. All you need is a few days off and to leave your schoolwork at school. Fill up the wading pool, get a drink, and grab a book. No stressing allowed.
12. You want to stay informed, educated, and up-to-date. But all those education and news emails, along with blogs, headlines, and tweets, can be overwhelming. Cull your reading to the essentials.
13. Get enough sleep! Most adults need eight hours. Staying up late to do extra work sounds noble, but it doesn’t help anyone. You feel lousy, you work less efficiently, and the kids will sense your grumpy mood.
For more ideas on ways to bust burnout, check out Tips to Avoid Teacher Burnout In a Jar®.
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