Our guest blogger has some great tips to help you stress less....
This week on the Future Education blog we have a guest blogger, Julieanne Cresswell a transformational coach. We understand that teaching is a very rewarding job but it also has its challenges – as with any profession. When balancing everything it is very easy to forget about taking care of yourself. On the TES website, a recent article by Ann Mroz states:
“…stress appears to be reaching new levels. Initial results of a survey of secondary and FE teachers by Leeds Beckett University shows that 56 percent said they suffered from poor mental health and 76 percent believed that this poor mental health had a detrimental effect on the progress of their students”
This is where Julieanne can help. So, without further ado continue reading to hear all about her experience, tips and tricks.
Mental Health – Why being aware of your state of mind can help you create a better life.
Balancing your mental health with work can be a struggle. I know as I have been there. I allowed work to have a major impact on my mental health, I saw the signs, the nudges but I hoped it would just go away so I didn’t act upon them at all. The thing was I grew up with this ideal. I believed that I had to do it all myself or I was just “not good enough”! Yes, I allowed the bullying, inner critic to start welding its way in, slowly eroding my confidence and gradually that bullying voice grew louder and louder. Ever had that voice running around your head? Telling you that you’re just not good enough, you’re weak and then you get trapped in a toxic cycle of thinking. I never listened to that little voice in my head and within 4 months, I was diagnosed with ME. I was a shadow of my former self and eventually, it led to me having to make the very hard decision to give up my dream job as a deputy head teacher, a position I had worked so hard for. To paint a picture of me- I had problems with my memory, energy, anxiety, depression, thinking others had negative thoughts about me, being scared, decision making and poor cognition- the list could go on. I now use this experience and understanding to help others become more aware of their mental state and aid their development to be the healthiest person they can be.
Before you read further, I want you to think about the following question…
What do you do now to support your own mental health?
What my own experience taught me was that most people are unaware of what they do or they don’t do anything at all. The mental health charity Mind states:
“Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. They affect around one in four people in Britain, and range from common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, to more rare problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, as any other physical illness – only you cannot see it”.
Suffering from these issues alone only exacerbates the situation. Fear of rejection, impact on your career and looking weak are only some of the reasons we do not seek the help we need. Fear is such a destructive emotion and can be high on the agenda when you are experiencing these thoughts and feelings.
The top three tips for good mental health according to www.mentalhealth.org.uk are: Talk, eat well and keep active, however, I would also add in setting yourself time to stop and rest, which I’d place pretty high on the agenda. It has recently been reported that many schools are removing staff rooms to make room for more classrooms, taking away a place for teachers and TA’s to unwind during breaks. So it is crucial you try to find a space where you can rest. However, I know that’s easier said than done, so I have a few other tips to ensure you look after your state of mind.
- Self-Care- Mindspace/ Mindfulness/ Meditation. Do this daily to get the maximum benefit. You may be wondering – when do I have time to meditate? But meditation can be achieved in as little as 5 minutes! During a break go to the kitchen and make a cup of tea. When you start, be aware of the now, not the past and what you haven’t done, not the future and your growing to do list, just you and that cup of tea. Take every step as if it were so very important. Choosing the cup, filling the kettle, listening to it boil, choosing the drink, tea coffee or herbal etc. A lot of the time this process is automatic and we don’t register our actions, so be present in every moment. You can use this process for whatever you do, from walking to your next class and observing the atmosphere, to planning your lunch for your next day. Meditation has been shown to decrease depression if done regularly over a period of time.
- Body - Eat well. There is a direct correlation between poor diet, activity and mental health issues. www.mentalhealth.org.uk show that those eating fewer fruit and vegetables in their diet are more likely to suffer from mental health concerns. Look at what you are eating and drinking, plan ahead and nourish yourself. Keep Active - Get out and move about, dance in the shower, walk the dog further, take one small step more than you did the day before whatever your fitness level.
- Workload - create some ground rules for yourself, finish by a certain time each day and do all marking at work. Home time means relaxing time, so try whenever you can try to leave work at work to ensure your home is a relaxing haven where you can switch off. Get pupils to start marking each other’s work (covers so many bases if done correctly). If you must stay late, make sure it is not every night, you will become overwhelmed with little or no time for yourself. Talk if things are getting too much and speak to someone who can help you organise your time better. Another key tip is to mark the same question in each book in sequence - this is better than marking all the questions in one book and having to go onto the next.
If you are really struggling you must share your problems, talk to your doctor, a friend or an organisation focused on mental wellbeing that can help you. Do not let it become a bigger problem than it is. Your health is important. Not only to the children you are teaching, the staff you may be supporting or the family that are relying on you but most of all it should be important to you. This may go against everything you have been taught as a child, but now is the time to rewrite those stories.
That's where I come in to help support you. Many of my past clients had many hopes and dreams. They had a passion for teaching but then they became overwhelmed and felt lost. I support people who are struggling and offer guidance to influence a positive difference, by helping individuals take back ownership of their lives and ready to take that first step out from underneath the weight that is holding them down. I actively work to improve your self-confidence and self-belief to help you get back to your best and find the you that you once knew. It’s important that support is available to those in need.
If you want support, then book in for a no pressure 30-minute chat, to help you take that first step to emotional freedom. Click the link below to book your free discovery/breakthrough session with me, where I will help you see that there is a way forward and that I will support you on that journey: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=14165868&appointmentType=3975021
Here at Future Education we feel it's important we look after our teachers and TA's and want to make work enjoyable for you. If you do feel you need further support or guidance give Julieanne a try or view our blog from last week with other useful sources to support you throughout your career.