May is Mental Health Awareness Month and offers the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of teacher mental health and the stress that the role can place on individuals. From long days of teaching to the preparation that goes on behind the scenes late into the night, it is no surprise that 56% of teachers experience insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
Therefore, we have gathered a range of information about mental health awareness month, what it means to teachers and some teacher mental health tips to help those feeling anxious, overwhelmed or stressed.
Our Teacher Mental Health Tips
While mental health has become a more talked about topic in recent years and the mental health of students has received attention, teachers can often be overlooked. Our amazing teachers up and down the country are required to support and help students with their mental health and wellbeing, but how can they if they are struggling themselves?
Teacher mental health has been impacted considerably by the pandemic and 48% of teachers report their mental health has declined since pre-COVID times. Therefore, as a teacher, it is more crucial than ever that you take the time to maintain and protect your mental health. Here are some of our top tips that will help you this mental health awareness month.
Give Yourself Regular Breaks
Getting through the academic year as a teacher is no easy feat and can leave you feeling tired, overwhelmed and lacking in motivation. From planning lessons to marking tests, the endless busy cycle can get on top of you. Therefore, we recommend that you give yourself regular breaks.
Of course, we know that it isn’t always that easy when you have a full day of lessons ahead that you need to prepare for. But remember that you can’t be the best teacher you can be if you are exhausted, distracted and overwhelmed.
Therefore, we recommend that you try to take a break during the weekends and swap the textbooks for a walk in the park with your friends or family. You will feel much more relaxed and rested when you step back into the classroom on Monday morning.
Reconnect With Your Purpose
The daily stresses and heavy workloads that come with being a teacher can sometimes make it difficult to remember why you wanted to become a teacher in the first place. While you may have originally joined the education system to help children develop and reach their full potential, your day to day job may feel a million miles away from that.
So, we would recommend that you try to do at least one thing each week that helps you reconnect. For example, try to implement teaching strategies that help you work closely with your students so that you can see the impact that you’re having on their lives.
Set Yourself Clear Boundaries
As you know, teaching isn’t a 9-5 office job and it can be difficult to start and leave work at a set time each day. However, you do need to set yourself some clear boundaries and leave school at a reasonable time. This will help you relax at home and you will find it easier to turn off from teacher mode.
A simple way to get into the habit of this is to get into the routine of completing an end of the day activity. For example, changing out of your teaching clothes or putting your work away in another room. This will help you put your work to one side while you focus on enjoying your evening.
Be as Prepared as Possible
Teaching is nothing if not unpredictable, so while you may have your day carved out into different activities and tasks, you can never really know what will happen next. Therefore, we recommend that you do what you can ahead of time. From trying to get ahead of your lesson planning or batch cooking your lunch and dinners on a Sunday ready for the week ahead, your future self will thank you for it!
We know how hard teaching can be and how much pressure it can place on your mental health. Therefore, we recommend that you use mental health awareness month as the perfect opportunity to take the necessary steps to protect your mental health and overall wellbeing.