Feeling unaccomplished? Easily irritated? Drained of physical or emotional energy? If you answered “yes” to any, or all, of these questions, chances are you’re experiencing burnout. Burnout can have serious implications for educators’ health and happiness, causing stress and anxiety. Not only does it affect their ability to effectively carry out their role, burnout also affects the students and families they interact with on a daily basis.
How can you combat burnout? As educators, we have a responsibility to take better care of ourselves so we can better meet the needs of our students. Adopting self-care practices can help educators stay motivated, be healthy and maintain a positive mindset.
Summer is an ideal time to examine your lifestyle and implement a self-care routine to help you start the new school year on the right foot. The following tips from Dr. Paul Young’s Principal Matters are key to helping educators, particularly program leaders, prioritize personal care:
● Exercise. After school program directors who are physically fit are happier, stronger and climb career ladders more quickly than those who are not. To get started, simply include walking in your daily program schedule. Regular walking leads to more energy, better sleep, lower body fat and reduced stress. Additionally, students would also benefit from 20 to 30 minutes of walking per day.
● Have a sense of humor. We agree with E. E. Cummings: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Create a program environment where it is okay to laugh, joke, discover and enjoy the funny side of things. Laughter not only brings people together, but it also triggers the release of endorphins, reduces stress and produces a general sense of well-being.
● Maintain a positive attitude. Choose to enter your program each day with a positive attitude, and it will be reflected by those around you. Having a talented staff with good attitudes leads to program success and effectiveness (and less stress for you!).
● Develop your charisma. Charismatic leaders exhibit high levels of self-confidence, persistence, determination, passion and optimism. Improvement of charismatic skills can also increase your leadership capacity and provide finesse in collaboration processes.
● Reduce Your Stress Levels. Learn how to effectively respond to stress and develop patterns of positive behavior that counteract it. Take a break, get organized, don’t procrastinate and get support. This allows you to avoid many stressors that could lead to burnout.
These are only a few self-care tips to help educators avoid burnout and maintain positive health and well-being. Need more tips? Check out Principal Matters and these 10 self-care tips from TeacherPop.