You know those times when you feel like everything is getting on top of you?
You started the term off so positively and held so much excitement for what it would bring. Flash forward to Week 8 and you feel like you’re just hanging on by a thread. Your healthy habits have gone out the window, stress seems to be a constant companion and you’re counting down the days until school holidays. Sound familiar?
If so, just know that you’re so not alone in this.
Most of the clients I work with, have felt this way at some stage in their careers. Usually, more than once.
I’m here to share 7 simple ways that you can move out of a mid-term funk and return to feeling lit up + ready to support your students to shine!
1. Give yourself permission to feel it
I get it, not feeling on your game is super inconvenient when you’re a teacher. There’s never a ‘good’ time to be sick or to take a day off when you need it. The thing is, the more you suppress how you’re feeling or try to power through, the more you send the message to yourself that you’re not worth supporting and the more the feeling will grow. Step 1? Give yourself permission to feel whatever is needing to be expressed. That might mean spending a day in bed watching sad movies with a box of tissues at the ready. It might mean punching pillows and screaming into them in anger. Whatever it looks like, expressing any emotions that are present allows them to move through you, instead of being suppressed and having them pop up at a later date- which is A LOT more inconvenient, wouldn’t you say?
2. Cut the teaching ‘fluff’
That super cute literacy display you saw on the #teachergram? Save it for later. That amazing numeracy game that you just have to make from scratch? It can wait. During times of stress, it’s super important to give yourself space to allow those feelings we spoke about before to move through you. Filling up your time with more tasks to tick off your to-do list, will only distract you and leave you with even less energy to tend to your needs. Not to mention, the energy you need to support your students. Know that those things will still be there when you’re feeling better and have the energy to give them your all again.
3. Take the pressure off to ‘perform’
As teachers, we spend a lot of time in ‘performance’ mode. We dive deep into fairy tale character roles while reading the class book, we get over the top excited about science experiments so that moody teenagers are enticed to engage and we can also feel the need to show up happy and eager in front of our colleagues and managers too. If you’re feeling run down and out of sorts, that might be a sign that your fuel tank is running low on gas and you need to slow your engine for a minute. (Is it obvious that I know nothing about cars?) Spend a couple of recess and lunch breaks a week in your classroom or office, just breathing and recharging. Be honest with your colleagues when they ask how you are. A simple “Not too bad” or “I’m getting there” is perfectly acceptable. Just take the pressure off in any way you can.
4. Let go of teacher guilt
So many teachers I speak to feel a barrage of guilt for taking a sick day or for being away from their kiddos. Can you relate? The thing is, this way of thinking leads to a vicious cycle where the feeling of guilt either makes us feel even more sick or makes us rush back to the classroom when we’re not fully recovered yet. One thing I’ve learnt to do, is to fully surrender to the fact that I’m not feeling well and allow my body to do what it needs to do to recover, however long that might take. Because honestly, has a student ever turned around to you at the end of the year and remembered the week you were away? No. They’re grateful that they got to have you as their teacher and they remember all of the times that you were there- present, healthy and full of energy. So, let go of the teacher guilt and focus on feeling better, however long that might take.
5. Reach out and seek support
No matter what is troubling you, you don’t need to face it alone. As a teacher, you make hundreds of decisions each day- allow someone else to help you with this one. Whether it be a close friend, therapist, partner, principal or coach, like myself, sharing how you’re feeling with someone else not only allows you to find solutions faster, but it also releases you from unhelpful cycles of thought that may have been on replay for far too long. Reach out to someone who will be in your corner, holding you accountable to moving forward. Follow this link to reach out and book in a session with me.
6. Trust that it won’t last
Grab your journal, your fave pen and find a comfy spot to sit for a minute. I want you to write down every moment in your life when you felt less than ideal. The big ones will come to mind straight away, but I want you to see if you can list the ones that match the way you’re feeling right now. Chances are you’ve forgotten a few of them. However, the ones you do remember will still be there. Describe each scenario, from the way you felt, to the thoughts you had, to the events that took place. Now finally, write down how long the feelings lasted. A couple of days? A week? A few months? Whatever the timing, I want you to write it down and then feel into the moments after it lifted. There was a time afterwards when you no longer felt the way you had been. There was a time where you felt lighter, where life felt more effortless and where you’d learned something new. Know that just like those times, this feeling won’t last either. In my experience, big moments of fear and doubt usually lead to amazing experiences that we could never have predicted beforehand. Trust that this too shall pass and something even better will be around the corner.
7. Affirm + move forward
It can be tricky to look forward to the future, when everything currently feels very intense. This is where we take the trust we cultivated in step 6 and begin to move forward again. When we’re in a funk, we often repeat unhelpful thoughts in our minds, sometimes without realising. It’s important to begin to substitute those thoughts for more positive and empowering ones. Consider how you want to feel fr
om here on out and turn it into an affirmation that you can carry with you until you feel more you again. Personally, my daily mantra is ‘It only ever gets better’. Feel free to try that on for size or create your own. Extra points for making it into a background for your phone or writing it on sticky notes to attach to your mirror. Repeat it to yourself daily and feel the fog begin to lift.
Ready to ditch the burnout, up level your beliefs and truly thrive as a teacher? Book a 90-minute power session with me today.