Teacher to Teacher: A Dozen Ways to Destress
Being a teacher is a rewarding job that is also often stressful. The many demands on your time and attention mean that you, dear teacher, often get to the end of the day feeling tired and anxious and perhaps even not quite remembering the last time you had a few minutes to eat or even go to the bathroom!
It may not help much to hear that you are not alone in those thoughts and feelings. But it can indeed help to share ideas for ways you have found to let go of stress, both during the school day and once it’s over.
A recent discussion in The Hub—our online community of early childhood educators—brought up so many terrific ideas that we wanted to share some of them again. Many thanks to our Hub members who contributed their ideas. You may notice some common threads in these suggestions. Nature walks, deep breathing, and listening to music seem to share widespread appeal.
Here are 12 ideas shared from early childhood educators around the country.
- “At home, some of my favorite destressors are a good book or working on whatever my most current crafting project may be. …[On] the other hand [during the school day], if children are awake, sometimes it may just be time to encourage a cuddle for a minute. Nothing beats a baby hug.”
—Theresa S., Rhode Island
- “Try to disconnect from all things work related once you get home. Take a walk to clear your mind if you can.”
—Jamelia B., Alabama
- “Try breathing with the students and use calm classroom strategies.”
—Elizabeth A., Michigan
- “I do a lot of breathing exercises with my students throughout the day, so when I need to take a breath, they do as well, and it brings the whole class back for a mindful moment.”
—Amanda F., New Jersey
- “This year I am making more of an effort to leave work at work and have set quiet hours that I keep at home.”
—Carrie C., North Carolina
- “I destress by being still and enjoying quietness in a room all alone. Or by spending time with family or friends.”
- “At home a good walk or just being away from all devices for a little bit is a nice break. Being in a room alone with some good music also helps to de-stress a little.”
—Kristen B., North Carolina
- “Outside of the classroom I use music and nature to destress.”
—Stephanie B., Pennsylvania
- “In the classroom I take a huge, long drink of my water. On my drive home I listen to music a little louder, have the windows open if the weather is appropriate.”
—Sam K., Minnesota
- “In my classroom, to get the day started, I use calming music and/or a morning yoga routine. I feel this helps the students and I get the day started smoothly.”
—Nicole M., Louisiana
- “Take a walk out in nature! Always helps!”
—Kimberlee W., Indiana
- “In class I put on hip hop violin.”
—Shannon M., Louisiana (You’ve convinced me, Shannon. You’ve convinced me.)
Whether you use these during the school day, after work, or on breaks to help you unwind, finding the timing and technique that works for you is what matters most. And by the way, if anyone wants to put on some hip hop violin, I am here for it.