It’s summertime which means it’s a great time to think about summer mindfulness ideas for teachers. Teachers carried a tremendous load over the last year and a half and, for some, it could be a bit hard to release that stress and enjoy the time off. So let’s think about ways that can help.
Why is it important?
Teachers were under more stress than usual as a result of the pandemic. First there was the pivot and adaptation to virtual learning, followed by a hybrid model of in-person and virtual instruction, and finally full in-person instruction in the majority of schools. Many students fell behind for a myriad of reasons and teachers undertook Herculean efforts to meet their needs. Now, as schools prepare to reopen for in-person learning in the fall, teachers are making plans to help students cope with the transition back to in-person learning. But stress and uncertainty remain over whether it will be safe to return to school, especially with the Delta variant surge.
Longitudinal studies have shown that stress can negatively impact teacher performance, thereby negatively impacting student outcomes. Teachers under stress exhibit more depressive symptoms, and students in these classrooms are less engaged. Conversely, a survey of 78,000 students across 160 schools showed that highly engaged teachers predicted more engaged students and facilitated better student outcomes. Clearly, stress is linked to job performance, which is why focusing on stress reduction for teachers is key.
How can teachers reduce stress?
First, know that investing time and energy into self-care is perfectly okay.
Second, try to make self care part of a daily routine – a habit. Try 5 minutes of meditation after waking up or yoga – or any tool, really, that helps to create calm and serenity as the day begins.
Third, use tools that are around – stress reduction doesn’t have to be expensive. From free mindfulness apps to our Self Care Toolkit, there are a variety of ways to start – and maintain – a practice. Not really feeling a tech solution? Go low tech! Walks, jaunts in a park, sitting on your front steps for a short break and a breath of fresh air – all are great mindfulness tools for stress reduction. Even taking a few minutes to sit in a car and breathe can help us to focus and re-center.
And fourth – find community! Know that there are many, many other educators out there who are looking for – and sharing – some of their own tools. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with others.
Stress reduction for teachers should start with a personalized self care strategy. By sticking to the activities that resonate with you, you can ensure that your self care strategy sticks.
Need help getting started? Over 1500 teachers have developed self care strategies through our course: Rapid Revitalization for Teachers. Feel free to share some strategies that may have helped you in the comments!