9 Tips for Teachers to Avoid Burnout

Nov 4, 2020 by

As a teacher, you face challenges daily as you strive to shape the minds of America’s future. It’s natural to feel stressed at times, but what happens when it becomes constant and overwhelming? Burnout can affect even those who love their jobs. The key is knowing how to avoid feeling that way from the start.

Here’s why it’s essential to stop burnout before it begins.

What Is Burnout and How Does It Affect Your Life?

How Can School Leaders Prevent Teacher Burnout? -

Burnout is caused by prolonged stress that leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you are overworked, lack balance or control or have a substantial workload. People who suffer from burnout experience reduced performance, feelings of alienation from work-related activities and extreme exhaustion.

These negative emotions can spill over into other areas of your life — like time with family and friends. While burnout is known to affect your mood — making you feel cynical, helpless and resentful — it also plays a role in your physical health. Its impact on your body can make your immune system more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu.

When you consider the negative impacts, it’s clear you should make changes to avoid burnout. Here are nine helpful tips to try today!

1. Take Care of Your Physical Health

You are more likely to feel fatigued if you are not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To take care of your physical health, you should focus on eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly. To create a healthy meal, concentrate on forming a balanced plate using foods high in vitamins and minerals.

Outside of a nutritious diet, you should exercise regularly to reduce anxiety and balance blood pressure. While exercising, the body releases chemicals proven to improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. As an adult, you should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. If you prefer high-intensity workouts, then 75 minutes of aerobic exercise would be sufficient.

2. Look for the Positive

When things don’t go according to plan, it’s important to look for the positive. If you focus on the negative, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Implement intentional positivity by starting a daily gratitude journal.

Each day, describe five to 10 things you are grateful for in your life. Review your assignments, and utilize positive language. When you reframe your mind to think positively, you begin to feel better. You’ll also set a positive example for your students.

3. Pursue Hobbies

At the end of the workday, go home and focus on topics unrelated to school. Use those hours to pursue your hobbies. You need a break from thinking about your occupation because a healthy lifestyle relies on balance.

When you leave for the day, log out of your email and turn off notifications. That way, you’ll be less tempted to take work home with you.

4. Create a Schedule

Create a schedule you can stick to each week. It’s crucial that you have time to manage your workload and lesson planning at school. This will reduce the amount of work you need to complete outside of school hours.

Be upfront with your students so they know some assignments may take longer to get back. They’ll be more understanding if you are upfront about the grading process rather than leaving them guessing.

5. Spend Time Socializing

When you spend an entire day working with younger individuals, it can be draining on your psyche. Spend time socializing with other adults. Clear your mind and discuss exciting topics unrelated to education.

6. Practice Self-Care

Are you constantly taking care of things — juggling various tasks and duties without taking time to relax? If so, then you should practice self-care. There’s no need to feel guilty about taking time for rest and relaxation because maintaining your mental health gives you the strength to continue caring for others.

Reflect on your favorite activities and implement them into your routine to unwind after a long day.

7. Set Goals

As with any profession, it’s essential to strive for growth and progression. To ensure your ambitions feel achievable, set SMART goals for yourself. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Those words describe the structure you should use to design your objectives.

When you use this structure, it will be easier to manage your goals without feeling overwhelmed.

8. Find a Mentor

When a lesson plan fails, or you face a particularly challenging situation, it’s crucial you have someone to turn to. Look for a senior teacher who has experienced those same situations. Use them as a sounding board and confidant. While you should fake confidence in some cases —like teaching a classroom full of children — you need someone you can be brutally honest with. This mentor can act as that person for you.

9. Consider a Career Change

Sometimes if your job is overly demanding or a poor fit, the best way to avoid burnout is to consider a career change. A different subject, school district or grade level may be the key to reigniting your teaching spirit and reducing stress.

Spend some time contemplating your interests and skills, because you might decide to look for a different job entirely. If you continue to feel lost, consider whether returning to school could be the right choice.

Prioritize Your Needs

As a teacher, it can be easy to find yourself caring for everyone but yourself. Take some time to prioritize your needs and utilize these nine helpful tips to avoid burnout. Your students will appreciate you more when you are operating at your happiest and healthiest self.

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