We recognise that for teachers and education staff working within a school environment and an education system it is important to prioritise and commit to taking care of your mental health and wellbeing.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
Five tips for teachers for dealing with Covid-19 stress. Written by Suzy Reading, chartered psychologist and author (and Now and Beyond host) and Georgia France, head of Year 7 and a PE teacher at Forest Gate Community School in London.
Education Support are the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and education staff in schools, colleges and universities. They offer immediate, confidential support including advice, counselling or coaching. Helpline: 08000 562 561
Positive staff wellbeing is essential for cultivating a school that promotes Mental Health and wellbeing, for retaining and motivating staff and for promoting pupil wellbeing and attainment. Visit their website.
One Mind is a Community Interest Company dedicated to promoting the power of mindfulness in the classroom, providing children and teachers with mindfulness training to navigate school and their personal world with confidence, balance, and emotional ease.
Caring for the wellbeing of teachers and school staff resource, visit the Young Minds website.
Teaching Staff Trust
Teaching Staff Trust provides financial support to people working (or who have retired from working) in education of under-19s for five years or more.
Start your day well
Start your day calmly with meditation, being in nature or breathing exercises. Browse our relaxation and breathing techniques page for some videos and audio clips.
Plan in time for the things that help you
Think about what helps lift your mood and gets you through stress, and plan extra time in for you to do that. Whether it’s exercise, safe face-to-face or virtual time with friends, or protected time with family. Try not to let these things go or sacrifice them.
Keep up with the basics
Try and keep the basics going as much as you can – eating as well as you can, getting enough sleep and watching your caffeine and alcohol intake. Give yourself small rewards.
Share how you're feeling with people you trust
If you can, identify a group of people you can be honest and open with about your feelings. Partners, friends, or close colleagues will want to help, and mixing the group up means you can ask different people for different things.
Share how you're feeling with your manager
If you can have a conversation with your manager or senior team about your worries, it might help them to understand and be part of your support team. If you can encourage the staff team to adopt the same messages or nurturing and reconnection you’ll be doing with students, it can really help.
Keep things in perspective
Remember, you aren’t a superhero; you are one single professional in an unprecedented period of change. The rules will change, and the school community will learn and adapt, but you can only control you and the circumstances in your classroom today.
Find small moments to yourself
Try to keep in touch with how you feel and what, if anything, is a particular issue for you. Try and find a distraction technique to get you through difficult times. It might be headphones on the way in, a podcast in the car, or just five minutes of peace at lunch or break to do a meditation track or have a moment of fresh air.
Approach others with kindness and an open mind
If you can, try not to judge others’ reactions too harshly – people have their own reasons, motivations and fears to contend with that we’re not aware of.
Note things you're grateful for
Keep a note of things you’re grateful for and things you’ve learned each day. You do this job for a reason – and the reasons why teaching and working with young people is so appealing may be even more important now, even though the challenges are tough.
Do a weekly wellbeing check up
Check in with your mental health. Ask yourself how you’re feeling mentally and physically? Are you looking after your wellbeing in terms of exercise, nutrition, sleep? How are your thoughts making you feel?
Aside from the sleep, eat, repeat cycle that many teachers find themselves in during half term, people who work in a school can find it difficult to make sure they’re extracting maximum enjoyment out of their half term holidays.
We’re here to help you make the most of this all too short week-long break, as we understand how important it is to feel refreshed physically and mentally when you return for the rest of the term. Here are some tips from Engage Education on what you can try:
Take a short break or go on holiday
We live and work on the doorstep of dozens of bucket-list destinations. Whether you’re a continental city-hopping tourist, or want to chuck on your wellies and go exploring, there are no shortage of options for you (and your family) to take a minibreak this half term.
Spend quality time with friends and family
You’ll often be too tired during term-time to catch up with your non-teaching friends in the evenings or even at weekends, and time with your family can be reduced to an hour or less every night before you fall asleep on the sofa. Spending time with those close to you can help you feel like you crammed more into your week off than if you spend time browsing the internet or absent-mindedly watching TV, and will also have a better impact on your mental health!
Remember your passions
Whatever your role is in a school, the hustle and bustle of school life can make you feel like you have lost some of the other parts of yourself that aren’t related to working in an educational institution. Use your week to revisit your passions outside of teaching, or try something new altogether. Don’t feel guilty for putting effort into endeavours that aren’t teaching related – having other interests and taking part in other activities will go a long way towards preventing teacher burnout.
So if you want to reignite your love of playing football, or fancy picking up a new cooking book and trying your hand at a new dish, use your half term break to dedicate some time to your other passions.
Why not try some mindfulness?
Mindfulness increases your self-awareness, your ability to control your attention, and your understanding of your emotions and thoughts. For example, mindfulness encourages you to see your thoughts as just thoughts and not as facts.
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. Due to this mindfulness has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep. We're running free mindfulness sessions for BLMK staff, find out more here.
Watch this short video by @TeachersToolkit for more tips on how to relax during term-time.
Talk to our Keeping Well team
If you find you’re struggling during the holidays, our Keeping Well practitioners are availale for a friendly chat about any worries or concerns you have.
Start a live chat or call on 01908 724227.