7 Tips on Preventing Teacher Burnout and Coping with Stress

Teaching is a profession that can be extremely rewarding — but also very stressful. Studies show that 91% of US teachers report excess workload being a major contributing factor to their stress and that 15% of US teachers leave the profession every single year due to stress and burnout. Other countries show similar statistics. 

Fortunately, there are some proven ways to cope with stress to prevent teacher burnout:

Set Firm Prep Times

If you’ve allowed yourself 30 minutes after each school day to look over the day’s assignments and prepare for the next day, make sure you use those 30 minutes. Close the door, and put your phone and other personal projects away. Of course, we must all take into account staff meetings or parent-teacher conferences, but otherwise, keep to your schedule. 

By using those 30 minutes productively, you can set yourself up for success the following day AND reduce your stress levels when you go home.

Delegate & Join Forces

If you have a parent volunteer in your classroom, give them some tasks — that’s what they’re there for! They can change the classroom decor, sort projects, mark straightforward assignments, photocopy handouts, and other small jobs that take up your time. By freeing your hands of small tasks, you can use that time to mark papers, connect with students, and prepare the next day’s lesson plan.

And if you know other teachers teaching the same grade as you, see if you can pair up with them — perhaps even if they’re at a different school. There’s a good chance you’ll have the same material to teach throughout the year, so you can take turns making lesson plans you can both use.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

This is essential in all aspects of your life; however, this is especially true at work when you’re already feeling extra stressed. Some people will always find something to complain about, and it’s very easy to start sharing your own complaints and commiserating with these people when you’re around them. Try your best to avoid the negativity. Instead, simply excuse yourself once they start and draw firm boundaries.

Find people in all parts of your life who focus on the positive and are a lot more joyful to be around.

Organize the Rest of Your Life

We’ve all stood in front of our closet wondering what to wear that day, but that’s just going to cause more delays and stress. Instead, try laying out your clothes and setting out everything you need the night before. This will help you get through your morning a bit easier. Also, get in the habit of setting aside some downtime to refresh your batteries. This can include anything from getting enough sleep with a bedtime routine to scheduling in quality time with friends and family.

Just make sure not to overschedule yourself! It may sound counterintuitive, but even doing too much fun stuff can lead to burnout.

Practice Mindfulness

We’ve talked before about how mindfulness is so important, and bringing it into the classroom can be excellent for both you and the kids you’re teaching. You’ll all notice the incredible benefits, and your days should go a bit more smoothly.

Schedule Downtime

During the week, it’s tough to practice good self-care. However, by scheduling some time during the evenings or weekends to do things you enjoy and make you feel good, you can ensure you feel rested and calm for the coming day or week. It could be as simple as reading a book, going to the spa, taking a walk in nature, or meditating for 15 minutes.

Take a Workshop

At Dolphin Kids, we offer a variety of workshops for teachers, parents, and children to help cultivate mindfulness and help everyone function at their very best. Our programs can help teachers maintain optimal mental health and prevent burnout. Contact us today for more information.

Coping With Stress as Parents: How to Take Care of YOU!

coping with stress
coping with stress

As a parent, you hold many responsibilities and likely feel a lot of anxiety about what’s on your to-do list. Parenting is a full-time job, and like any job, it can be stressful — very stressful. In fact, one study we discovered shows that parents feel stressed about six different times per day because of their kids!

With all this stress, it’s essential that you take care of yourself first to be able to manage all your responsibilities effectively. Here are some strategies you can use to help you get some much-needed downtime and natural stress relief.

Take Time to Play

Dolphin Kids encourages everyone of any age to take time each and every day to play. This can mean whatever you want it to, but make sure you schedule it into your day, every day. This can easily be one of the best things to do to help with any anxiety you feel. Play also helps to build self-esteem and ignite creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Try dancing around to music, playing a game on the computer, or doing whatever you want for at least 30 minutes every day — longer if you can. Put your play time into your schedule and make it non-negotiable. You may have to get up before everyone else in the house, wait until after the kids go to bed, or make sure everyone else in your home has set up their own play time and knows to leave you alone during this time.

Practice Mindfulness

We’re big on mindfulness! Being mindful is as simple as stopping occasionally to take a few deep breaths. If you have a few moments, go outside and breathe in some air or take a short nature walk. Practicing mindfulness helps us control our reactions and be more present with our children.

So often, when we’re busy, we go through life on autopilot. We don’t take any time to appreciate the moments in our life that bring us joy. Taking a few short mindfulness breaks each day will help you finish the day feeling calmer and more in control of coping with the stress that comes along with your busy life.

Reduce Your Kids’ Schedules

Chances are, you’re running your kids around to all sorts of events and activities. These days, it seems like a lot of children are overscheduled and participating in activities they don’t really enjoy. Have a sit down with each of your children and your spouse and talk about which activities they really enjoy.

Cutting down on their activities not only frees up their time for creative play and doing things they truly enjoy doing, but it should also free up some time for you.

Delegate What You Can

Are your kids old enough to take on some more chores? Do you have some extra money set aside to pay for a housecleaner or other help to come in once a week or so? Can you get a meal service to bring you healthy meals a few times a week?

You’ve probably gotten so used to doing everything yourself that you likely don’t realize how much you could pass along to other people.

Plan Some Family Fun 

At least once a week, schedule time for your whole family to be together for some quality time. Plan something that you all enjoy doing — or switch it up every week. You could go swimming, go on a nature walk, do a puzzle, go on a picnic, or even make some popcorn and watch a movie.

This will help you get back on track with your family and give you all a bit of time to recharge together.

Plan Some Time Out

Even if it’s only once a month, plan a date night with your spouse. Hire a babysitter or exchange some babysitting duties with another set of parents and use this chance to reconnect with each other. This is a perfect time to do the things you enjoyed doing before you had kids.

It’s also important to plan an afternoon or evening out with your best friend or a group of friends on occasion. Having some great chats over a walk, a meal, or an activity will guarantee some laughs and a fantastic chance to recharge your batteries. For more information about Dolphin Kids workshops for parents on mindfulness and a variety of other subjects, check out our full list of programs here.