Staying Positive While Feeling Overwhelmed

It is a known fact that teachers have stressful jobs.  Many times, we do not know how stressed we are until we get totally overwhelmed.  Depending on your school environment, you may feel overwhelmed more often than not.  The following are some ways to remain positive and calm when feeling overwhelmed at school.

Take a Step Back

Focus on what is overwhelming you.  Will it matter a year from now?  Next week?  Tomorrow?  A lot of our stressors are temporary.  Think about that point in the future when your current stressor will not be a part of your life.

Think about similar situations you have handled in the past.  How did you manage to get through those times?  Learn from stressful times in your past.  

Make a List

Write a list of everything you need to accomplish.  Prioritize your list be most urgent and then start at the top.  Once you see things being check off, you'll start to feel less overwhelmed.

Talk it Out

Do you have somebody you can share your feelings with?  Maybe it is a coworker or a significant other.   Share your feelings.  Sometimes the person you shared with will help you come up with a solution.  Sometimes, just talking about your feelings will make you feel less overwhelmed.  

Take a Five Minute Break

Grab a glass of water and find a quiet place.  Drink your water.  You'd be surprised by how much better you will feel with properly hydrated.  Then sit and take some deep breaths.  A five minute break can make a world of difference.  

Do Something to Make Yourself Feel Good

Often when we are feeling overwhelmed by mandatory expectations, the activities we enjoy get pushed aside.  It's important to keep doing things that make work enjoyable.  Whether it is Fun Friday or class challenges like this Giving Challenge that spreads happiness throughout your school, it's vital to have a bit of fun at school!

Hit the Gym

When you regularly exercise, your body is better able to handle stressors.  If you think you do not have time, remember than one hour is only 4% of your entire day!  Thirty minutes is only 2% of your day!  You don't even need to go to the gym or own fancy equipment.  There are plenty of ways to get exercise in your own house with no extra equipment.  Pinterest and YouTube have a lot of ideas.  

Adopt a Mantra (or few)

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I tend to start singing.  Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" and Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" are my current go-to songs to help me get through difficult times.

Clear Your Plate

What can you completely remove from your list of responsibilities?  Most teachers are perfectionists which makes them want to do everything themselves so it is just right.  Done is better than perfect.  Say it again.  DONE is better than perfect.  Can you pass something off to your students or an assistant?  Can you just ditch it altogether?  

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Positivity breeds positivity.  If a colleague or teammate complains about everything, that is only going to bring your emotions down.  Find some positive friends and stick with them!

Just Say No!

Saying no is one of the most difficult things for teachers since we tend to be people-pleasers.  I once heard that saying yes to something is saying no to something else.  Often times, when we say yes to "one more thing" we are saying no to our own sanity.  If you're not excited to say yes, then just say no. Your future self will thank you!

Try To Remember

Think back to when you were just starting college and still day-dreaming about having your own classroom.  Remind yourself of why you started this job to begin with.  Try to find something you're doing now to bring you back to that level of excitement.  It can be just one little thing.  One little things grows into bigger things!  

Once you are able to get yourself into a positive mindset, you'll be better equipped to deal will all of the things that are overwhelming you.  Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it!

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