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Classroom Management to Beat Holiday Stress

Janelle Cox

As the holiday season slowly approaches, many teachers feel pressure and anxiety rather than joy and excitement. Let’s face it, the holidays can be a stressful time for teachers. There’s a lot of pressure to complete assignments and projects before winter break. Then there’s getting in those last-minute tests and grading them, as well as planning holiday parties all while trying to fulfill family obligations. To make sure that you enjoy this special time of year, there are a few important classroom management steps that you can take to help manage your stress before you feel the teacher burnout. Here are a few classroom management suggestions to help you make the most of the holiday season so it’ll be something that you look forward to, not dread.

Classroom Management: Mindful Breathing

One of the most popular stress-busting techniques to reduce stress today is to try mindful meditation. It’s simple: When you notice that you’re getting uneasy about something, all you have to do is pay attention to your breath. This helps you stay in the present moment as well as reduce your anxiety. Whenever a stressful thought arises, simply redirect your attention to your breath and slowly breathe in and out.

Daily Exercise

If you find that you’re getting extra stressed during the holidays, then increase your movement. A regular fitness routine will give you more energy as well as improve your mood. You can easily do this by taking your students outside for a walk, having a classroom dance party, or even incorporating some classroom yoga into your day. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to do that, then try holiday shopping with your family, which usually entails a lot of walking, or go outside and play with your kids. The more movement you implement into your day, the better you’ll be able to handle any stress that comes your way.

Learn to Say No

The holidays are a busy time, which means there’s a good chance that you’ll be asked to participate in a lot of events or school functions. This can make some teachers very uneasy and overwhelmed. Saying yes to everything that someone asks you to do when you really want to say no can leave you feeling quite resentful and unhappy. Learn to say no without any regret. Your colleagues and friends and family will understand if you can’t participate in everything that you are asked to do.

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Be Grateful

The holiday season can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and sometimes we can take these feelings out on our family, or colleagues, or even our students. When we feel this kind of stress, it’s easy to focus on what is going wrong in our lives, rather than what is going right. The best way to combat this stress is to be grateful for what you have today. Each morning when you wake up, say three things that you are grateful for. Reflecting and being grateful for all you have can be a powerful reminder that no matter what happens in your life, you have it pretty good right now.

Do a Good Deed for Someone

The holidays are about giving back, and when you do a good deed for someone other than yourself, it will make you feel good. Whether it’s for someone that you know, or someone that you don’t know, performing any act of kindness will make you happy. Try anonymously paying for someone’s coffee when you are in the drive through of your local coffee shop, or bringing some Christmas cookies into the teachers’ lounge for your colleagues. Any act of kindness will decrease your stress level and make you feel better.

Take control of the holidays, and don’t let them become something that you don’t look forward to. Instead, practice mindful breathing, take care of yourself, be grateful for what you have, do a good deed, and learn to say no. Once you recognize your holiday triggers, it’ll be easier for to combat them before they even occur.

How do you manage teacher stress during the holiday season? Do you have any classroom management tips that work well for you? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you on this topic


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.