Let’s face it: stress is a regular part of our lives. And this is especially true for afterschool program leaders and professionals, who are tasked with keeping students safe and learning every day after school. While there are a number of ways you can manage stress, sometimes you need something quick that can work in a moment’s time. That’s where quotes come in.

The following quotes were chosen to help you ease stress and feel empowered after a long day of serving children and youth. Choose your favorite quotes, record them in your phone or planner and refer to them whenever you need a bit of relief.

1. “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” - Mahatma Gandhi

From managing program operations to monitoring student behavior, your day can get hectic. This is a great reminder to slow down, take a deep breath and change the pace.

2. “You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” - Christopher Robin

Stressful days can cause you to feel defeated and to question yourself and your abilities. Remember that even on the hardest days, you can tap into your courage, strength and “smarts” to navigate any issue or challenge.

3. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”- Lou Holtz

As program director, you wear many hats; it’s just the nature of the job. But there are ways to “lighten the load,” like using these time-management tips for afterschool program leaders. They include delegating, establishing systems and planning ahead - all of which can help you better manage your many responsibilities.

4. “You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” - Wayne Dyer

In other words, focus on only the things you can actually control. This can help to alleviate stress as you shift your focus to things you can immediately fix or address.

5. “Gratitude can reduce your stress and anxiety.” - Bree Miller

Cultivating gratitude is one of the easiest ways to combat stress and develop a greater sense of happiness. For example, if you’re feeling stressed at work, remind yourself of why you love your job. Whether it’s to make a positive impact in the community or to give children a safe place to learn and have fun after school, keep this in mind when stress rears its head.

6. “Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.” - Robert Eliot

If you need help putting things into perspective, this quote is for you! On your most stressful days, any challenge or issue you face may seem larger than it actually is. Remember, nearly everything is fixable, and you are equipped to handle whatever comes your way.

7. “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” - William James

Sometimes easing stress is as simple as switching your thoughts. Negative, irrational thoughts are among the leading causes of stress. But you can combat this by being aware, understanding you are the master of your thoughts and proactively deciding how to respond.

8. “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” - Benjamin Franklin

In other words, choose optimism over pessimism. Whether you’re waiting on a specific program to be funded or an activity idea to be approved, always expect the best. If you don’t get the outcome you wanted, the next quote will come in handy.

9. “Stay committed to your decisions; but stay flexible in your approach.” - Tony Robbins

Things won’t always go as planned, especially when there are children involved. But when you’re rigid about your goals and decisions, this can cause great stress and make you feel as if you’ve failed when things go awry. Remaining flexible, however, gives you the motivation to stick to your decisions and find alternate ways to follow them through.

10. “… some stress is necessary in our lives when we want to stimulate creativity, or to promote learning.” - Christian J. Borg

Two things program leaders do extremely well: stimulate creativity and promote learning. This a reminder that what you do is challenging yet necessary work, and some stress is a part of the job. Allow this to reassure you that you’re on the right track when you begin to feel the pressures of your role.

11. “Where there is a lack of rest, there is an abundance of stress.” - Lysa TerKeurst

After a particularly long and stressful day, schedule downtime to allow yourself to rest and recharge. Stress and burnout are closely related, so make sure you’re well rested to tackle each day.

12. “Stressed spelled backward is desserts.” - Loretta Laroche

Let’s piggyback this quote with one from playwright and film director David Mamet: “We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” When all else fails, indulge in something sweet, like your favorite ice cream or a decadent, frosting-packed cupcake. The extra calories won’t be in vain, as sugar actually reduces levels of cortisol - a stress hormone - and releases serotonin, which helps you relax and feel calm.

What are your favorite stress-busting quotes? Share them with us in the comments below!