Back to school wellbeing tips for teachers
You’ve had six weeks away from the classroom, but now that you’re starting a new term, it’s more important than ever to take care of your wellbeing. Here are five wellbeing tips to help you keep your head up and make it through the beginning of the new school year:
1. Make a space to work at home
As a teacher, it’s difficult to find time to relax once term starts again, especially if you have to bring work home with you. Having a dedicated space in your home for working – a whole study if you’re lucky, or simply a desk – can help you compartmentalise working and leisure hours, so you can wind down after the day. Instead of working on the sofa in front of the TV, which can affect concentration, make your working space as comfortable as possible, with plants, lights, pictures and a chair with good back support. You could even display thank you cards and gifts from your students for an extra bit of motivation.
2. Carve out moments of calm
As marking builds up and the working days get longer, you may find yourself succumbing to stress. Taking a moment to relax and breathe in a hectic school environment can seem impossible, but meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you create moments of calm in the middle of chaos. There are lots of free apps and podcasts available that can guide you, such as the meditation and relaxation app Calm, mindfulness app Headspace and the Daily Meditation Podcast, which you can listen to discreetly through headphones during your lunchbreak, or even include your pupils by introducing a five minute ‘calm moment’ each day after lunch.
3. Take care of your body
Exercising is crucial to your wellbeing, giving you the best start to deal with everything from unruly classes to surprise inspections. Exercise endorphins are known to boost concentration and motivation, help you cope with stress as well as improve your sleep quality, all of which will help you through the beginning of term. Find out if there are exercise classes or running groups near your school or home or introduce some exercise as part of your commute to work. There are also plenty of free yoga classes on YouTube, or try the 7 Minute Workout app for a quick full body work out.
4. Plan your next break
One of the best ways to beat the post-summer blues is to start planning for your next break. Half term is just around the corner and making plans – whether you’ll be spending time with your family, taking a trip or having a ‘staycation’ – gives you something concrete to look forward to. Plus, planning ahead could save you money. You’ll want to spend some of the time catching up or planning for the next term, but it’s also important to give yourself time to rest. Consider either taking a few days rest in a row, or only work a few hours a day and chip off a little at a time. This way, you’ll finish your half term break feeling rested as well as on top of things.
5. Get outside and embrace autumn
Summer is over and the nights are growing longer, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Getting out into nature is proven to be good for your physical and mental wellbeing, and the autumn is a perfect time to explore your local area. Look into your community to find out about local ghost walks, fantastic Bonfire Night displays or autumnal walking groups to really get in the spirit. Your outings could also help inspire your lesson plans – you could gather leaves to make cheap, eco-friendly leaf art, get students to write and read spooky Halloween stories, or incorporate fireworks into science and history lessons.
As a teacher, you already have a lot on your plate, and buying insurance may not be at the top of your list. UIA Mutual and the NASUWT are working together to make sure teachers and their families are offered competitive premiums on their Home, Car, Travel and Pet Insurance – so that’s one less thing to worry about.