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Teaching: New Year, New Habits

September 21, 2020
Lucy Hussey

Teachers do an incredible job. Those of us with children are in awe of their ability to handle a class of 30 when sometimes getting just one child to put their shoes on feels like a major challenge. At Lime, we have been thinking about what teachers are facing heading into the new academic year and we wanted to say thank you and good luck!

Encouraging and inspiring young minds to learn and prepare for a lifetime of learning is no mean feat. Most of us are aware of just how hard teachers work. Yes, they may get a lovely long summer break, but boy do they earn it, with many of them working long hours lesson planning and marking. A 2019 report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that job-related stress is higher among teachers than other professionals with one in five teachers (20 per cent) feeling tense about their job most or all of the time, compared to 13 per cent of similar professionals. And that’s before COVID-19 came along.

As the new academic year begins, teachers are facing challenges like never before. COVID-19 has meant many children have been away from school for up to six months. New procedures and restrictions to keep staff and pupils safe have to be implemented and navigated daily. Plus, anxiety levels from parents, staff and children are likely to be at an all-time high. All this while the usual stresses and strains of school daily life continue unabated.  

Teachers need to be on top form, but that can be difficult when life is so busy. Of course, we all know that we should eat healthily, sleep properly and exercise regularly, but what else? We’ve put together a little list of quick and easy new daily habits that teachers (and anyone else) can use to help destress and stay fit and well this year:

  1. Breathe. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is when you’re stressed to stop breathing properly. Just take a minute a few times a day to breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.  
  1. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Many of us hold tension in our shoulders, neck and jaw. By consciously relaxing our shoulders, forcing them down away from our ears and relaxing our jaw we can help reduce tension all over our bodies.
  1. Get out into nature every day if you can. A walk in the woods, a few minutes in the garden or maybe even some wild swimming in the sea – these have all been proven to have a beneficial effect on our mental and physical health.
  1. Recognise what you do well. Take a few minutes at the beginning or end of the day to think about what you are good at! If you are feeling overwhelmed it can be too easy to feel like you’re not doing anything right.
  1. Take 15 mins for yourself. It may sound like a cliché, but taking some time out of your day, every day, to do something for yourself can make a real difference to your mental health. You could listen to some music, read a book, go for a walk, chat to a friend or even just sit down with a cup of tea.  

Finally, if you don’t feel well for any reason, make sure you take time to rest and get better. If you have a concern about your health, whether it’s mental or physical, don’t wait for it to get worse! Make an appointment to see your GP so that you can get things sorted as quickly as possible and get back to being you.

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