What Did You Achieve Today?
Mar 30, 2012 Other 2007 Views
For staff in schools, managing your own well-being is a must. There are several causes of stress for staff working in schools; difficult parents and colleagues, unrealistic expectations and deadlines, report cards and unacceptable student behaviour to name a few.
Having been entrusted with the well being, discipline and education of a school full of students, teachers and staff working in schools have a huge responsibility. It is vital that we get satisfaction from our work in schools. Our work is a significant component of our lives. Whilst our jobs shouldn't define 'who we are', our work should contribute to a sense of satisfaction that our work is important and DOES make a difference. If it doesn't, then it is time to reflect, consider other options and work towards an exit strategy to a situation that increases our sense of satisfaction.
Stress is a part of everyday life; that is normal. However prolonged stress becomes distress and eventually takes its toll. The effects of stress are many and contribute to a large variety of illnesses. Your ability to deal with stress is a major factor in determining the quality of your daily life.
There are a number of steps that you can take to relieve or reduce job pressures. One of the important steps is to reflect at the end of each day on what you have achieved. Sadly many of us focus on what we HAVEN'T done, instead of what we HAVE done. We tend to look at our 'To Do' list and focus on the tasks that we still have yet to do, instead of the things that we have achieved that day. Our self-talk in these situations is critical.
Often we start the day with the best intentions of what we think we can achieve but other events happen during the day. A parent may need to see us about an urgent matter before school, a student is upset and needs support at lunch time, a colleague needs our assistance or an unexpected meeting is called. Recognising that these 'interruptions' are an important part of our role is essential. At the end of the day we might not have achieved all of the things that we wanted to, however we should reflect on what we DID actually achieve.
If you are run down and worn out, your ability to cope with the demands of working in schools can be severely hampered. Looking after your own well-being is essential. The following are some key stress management techniques:-
- Your physical well-being is of utmost importance in dealing with stress. Exercise increases the blood flow to vital organs and delivers more oxygen to the brain. This enables you to think more clearly and cope with the stresses you encounter in school and life itself.
- Poor nutrition can have devastating effects on your body and severely limit your ability to cope with stress. Follow a well balanced and nutritional diet and limit your intake of sugar, soft drinks, coffee, tea, biscuits, etc.
- Get a good night's sleep and maintain a regular schedule; avoid naps. Alcohol and coffee affect sleep patterns.
- Try different relaxation and breathing techniques (eg meditation or yoga).
- Take charge of your time when YOU have control - by utilising your time better, you can increase your effectiveness and decrease your stress level. Asking yourself
- "Is this the best use of my time?" can help us to do the most important things first.
- Try not to take ourselves and others too seriously. By keeping our sense of humour, we can better cope with many of life's challenges.
- As staff who work in schools, all we can do is try our best... ultimately our work is important and does make a difference!