By Teachers, For Teachers
While the holiday season may seem like a magical time of year, it can also be a stressful one. There’s holiday shopping, getting your house decorated and ready, dealing with holiday parties, parents, and people at school, and not to mention managing a classroom of some very excited children. To make sure that you can enjoy this time of year, you must employ a few teaching strategies to manage your stress. These five teaching strategies will help you overcome that holiday teacher burnout and stay happy well into the New Year.
That is probably the last thing that you want to hear, and you’re also probably wondering when you are going to find the time when you have so many things on your plate. But, you already know that a regular fitness routine will give you more energy and increase your mood. If you find that your schedule is leaving you sedentary, then you need to schedule in some time to get moving. 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 that doesn’t work for you, then you can try holiday shopping with your family (that usually entails a lot of walking), getting outside and playing with your kids, or taking a few minutes before you go to work do a quick 20 minute exercise video, like Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30. As long as you are moving, you will feel better.
The holidays are about giving, and when you do a good deed and are selfless, then you will feel happy and less stressed. Bring your students a special treat, anonymously pay for someone’s coffee when you are in the drive-through of your local coffee shop, or bring some Christmas cookies to your elderly neighbor. Whether it’s for someone that you know, or someone that you don’t know, performing any act of kindness will make you happy.
Oftentimes people get stressed because of situations or things that are out of their control. Just know that something is bound to go wrong during your holiday festivities at school or during your shopping trip at home. A child may forget his/her line for the school play, or an item that your child really wanted for Christmas is out of stock. These things happen and there is no need to stress out about them. While it may feel like a big deal in the moment, just know that these things happen, and it’s the way that you react to them that will help you feel less stressed. If you are the type of person that is prone to react to stressful situations, prepare yourself to be mindful in the moment. Laugh when you can. And just know that this too shall pass.
Start each morning by quietly setting an intention for your day. It can be something as simple as being mindful of what you eat or to just having a productive day. By setting an intention, you are making a promise to yourself (or reminding) yourself what you to plan to accomplish. Every day, try to do something to demonstrate your commitment to your intension. Then, at the end of the day, acknowledge that you did what you set out to do and praise yourself for it. When you set a simple intention and you accomplish it, you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself you are less stressed.
Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed (this especially happens during the holidays), we tend to take it out on our family, our colleagues, or our students. When we feel this stress, it’s easy to focus on what is going wrong in our lives, versus what is going right in our lives. The holidays represent a time to be with family, friends, and all the ones that we love. Reflecting upon this love and being grateful for all we have can be a powerful reminder that no matter what happens in our lives, we have each other and it will all be OK. Each morning when you wake up, before your toes even touch the ground, say three things that you are grateful for, then set your intention for the day. You will find by doing so, your holiday season as well as the New Year will be much less stressful.
What do you do during the holiday season to stay happy? DO you have any tips or tricks that can help your fellow educators? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear them.
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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.