- Over 60% of Australian teachers suffer from anxiety
- Almost one in five are clinically depressed
- These are higher incidence rates than the national average
By the final term of the school year, nerves can start to get a little frayed. Your students are restless and the goals you set at the beginning of the year can feel a bit like an albatross around your neck.
Sadly, stress and depression are common in the teaching profession. A Bond University study conducted this year, interviewing 166 Australian school teachers aged 22 to 65, uncovered the alarming statistics listed above.
It’s important to take care of your mental and physical health. Try to keep some perspective and acknowledge everything you’ve achieved, alongside what could work better.
SEVEN WAYS YOU CAN ACHIEVE WELLBEING IN THE CLASSROOM:
1. Credit where credit’s due
It’s way too easy to get hung up on the ways we feel we’ve let ourselves or our students down, losing sight of of the truly great things we’re doing. Record your goals and reward yourself for every achievement or specific goal met.
2. Be flexible
Acknowledging that there’s room for improvement doesn’t have to be a negative. Far from it. Once those goals are lined up, experiment with new ways of doing things. If it doesn’t work out, there’s strength in the learning.
3. Stay focused
If you feel like you’re losing your way, reconnect with what got you into teaching in the first place. Aim to undertake one task each week that helps you get back into that groove.
4. Find strength in numbers
Often when we get stressed, our instinct is to bottle it all up. But that’s the least helpful tactic. The reality is, our colleagues are probably in a similar boat. Forging good friendships at work and debriefing is invaluable – especially if you can find constructive ways of helping each other out.
5. Be kind, rewind
Wellbeing is a shared ambition. It’s simple to say, but being kind to your students and noticing when they are kind in return (to you and to each other) is vital. Each evening, try to remember the good things that happened that day.
6. Switch off
We spend a big chunk of our lives at work, so prioritise what happens outside the school gates too. Try to have a set a time you leave the school by every (or at least most) days. Get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Spend time talking to loved ones and indulging in your favourite pastimes.
7. Sleep well
A good night’s sleep is essential for wellbeing. It’s also the first thing to go awry when we’re stressed. Whatever you need to do to achieve the Zs, do it. It could be a bath before bed, spending an hour reading off-screen, or downloading a soothing rain sounds app.