Teachers are always good at giving advice to students in terms of health and wellbeing. However how many of us do actually have healthy habits, how many of us do nurture their friendships and personal lives? If we want to perform well and bring our students what they need to learn we need to work on our energy, on our mind, diet, body and spirit.
First of all try to diagnose yourself. Why do you have endless headaches and migraines, stomach aches etc.?We are the type of teachers who are exhausted at the end of the school year because we have given everything we had. We tend to work a lot, sometimes too much even to the burn-out. In some countries especially in the UK, where I used to work, teaching is said to be the most stressful job!Depression, anxiety and burn-out have become the teacher’s diseases and the workload and long hours have left some with no other choice than quitting their position. Our own health and wellbeing is something we often neglect. Even though teaching is a rewarding profession on a personal level, many of us are struggling with the stress and pressure we have to face on a daily basis with new systems being put in place for instance or dreadful behavior from some students.
Once you know that it is high time you stopped for a while, try to make a list of all the things that usually help you feel better. How about chatting with an old chap, enjoying a glass of wine with your partner or best friend, going shopping, reading a book, having a bath, and watching a feel good movie? These are little things that can make a great change in our busy life. I once needed that time off and a dear colleague of mine just brought me a basket with some cheese, wine and candles to wind down. That made a huge difference! He just spent some of his time listening to me and that helped a lot. He was such an awesome person and I am sure that there are amazing people around you. Maybe not all your colleagues will be supportive, maybe some will even enjoy some kind of competition while all you really want is to have a nice chat. Well then find some people with whom you will have some nice constructive time. They may be members of your department but they can also be members from other departments or non-teaching staff.
So look around you and stop isolating yourself. There are true people that care for you. We sometimes get so caught up in the work we do that we forget to care about our own relationships. Nurturing relationships is something crucial to our well-being. So, yes, maybe you don’t know what to say to your friends or maybe you are stuck while writing them an email, but at least give it a go.