10 Tips to Promote Better Mental Health for Teachers

10 Tips for Better Mental Health for Teachers

January 9, 2023

Teaching can often be a very stressful and demanding job and it can take its toll on our educators, which is why promoting better mental health for teachers should become a priority. As new challenges crop up, how can you take better care of your mental health?

10 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Mental Health and Well-Being

1. Prioritize your mental health

When it comes to self-care, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. For some, it can be something as simple as taking a short break. For others, it’s setting healthy boundaries to promote better work-life balance. You can start taking better care of your mental health by prioritizing it and incorporating self-care practices in your daily life. Knowing what your stressors are and how you respond to them, as well as looking out for the signs of burnout can be good places to start. Take some time for yourself or do what makes you happy at the end of the day, whether it’s trying out a new hobby, doing something fun over the weekend, or meditating.

2. Learn to set your boundaries

Setting your boundaries early on allows you to have a better work-life balance. Remember that you’re also human and even if you have a very hectic schedule, you need to take some time for yourself to de-stress at the end of a long day. Here are some things you can do:

  • Try not to bring your work home
  • Schedule when your students or their parents can reach you when you’re not at work
  • If you’re working from home (for schools that have a virtual or hybrid setup), you can set up your office at home

3. Manage your expectations

Learning to manage your expectations can help you cope with setbacks or cope when things don’t turn out the way you planned them to. By setting reasonable expectations and being able to adapt to changing circumstances, you’ll be better able to keep things, including setbacks, in perspective.

4. Focus on your goals

Life can and does get in the way sometimes, which is why it’s important for teachers to set goals and stay focused on achieving them. These goals can help you go in the right direction. However, make sure that they are realistic and measurable. This way, you can track your progress and see how far you’ve come. Think your goals are too grand? You can try breaking them down into more manageable ones.

5. Stay connected with family and friends

Your family and friends can offer you support, especially during difficult times. Not reaching out to loved ones or colleagues during trying times can make you feel unsupported and this can negatively impact your mental health and well-being. You can talk to a colleague, visit your family, or set up a video call with some of your closest friends. Doing so will help you feel connected with your support network.

Self-care and relaxation

6. Check in on your colleagues

Checking in on your colleagues to see how they’re doing can do wonders. It can help them feel supported and this can be an opportunity to tap into shared experiences and spread mental health awareness in your school. If someone reaches out to you, you can let them know that you’re willing to listen to them and help them out with what they need.

7. Take good care of your body

This means engaging in physical activities regularly and getting enough sleep. Physical activity offers significant benefits to your health and well-being. It can reduce stress, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression, help prevent or manage diseases, and nurture critical skills, such as thinking and judgment. Even something as simple as taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes can elevate your mood.

In addition to regular physical activity, you need to practice good sleeping habits. Not getting enough sleep can adversely impact your physical and mental well-being. Getting enough sleep helps you think more clearly and improves your mood because you wake up feeling refreshed. Plus, it can reduce stress, help you maintain a healthy weight, and strengthen your immune system.

Taking good care of your body also means eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated.

8. Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness allows you to focus on the present and be aware of your surroundings, thoughts, or what you’re feeling physically or emotionally. Furthermore, it may help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as symptoms of depression. Lastly, mindfulness may help you manage your emotions better, which, in turn, can have a positive effect on your mental well-being.

9. Reward yourself

The prospect of rewarding yourself might seem a bit indulgent, but it’s an important component in promoting better mental health for teachers. You can reward yourself for all your hard work or celebrate small wins. Even a small reward like sleeping in or getting your favourite treat can help you stay motivated. It also allows you to reframe your perspective to focus on the positive.

Moreover, rewarding yourself is a form of encouragement. When done repeatedly, it can promote better self-confidence, which can help you take more pride in what you’re doing.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help

Promoting better well-being and mental health for teachers also means seeking out professional help, if necessary. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, burnout, anxiety, or other mental health problems, you need to seek support for your mental health from a medical professional. When left untreated, these symptoms can affect how you teach and can prevent you from living your life to the fullest.

It Takes a Village . . .

Promoting better mental health for teachers is a community effort.

Teaching has always been a demanding and stressful job, even before the pandemic and educators are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, as well as more frequent job-related stress. In light of working toward nurturing better mental health for teachers, districts and school leaders should also play an active role in ensuring that our educators get the support and mental health services that they need. In doing so, we can start creating a thriving community that will have a positive impact not just on our teachers but also on their students.

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