Combating burnout is essential for teachers like you to maintain your well-being and find balance between school, your transition, and home life. Once fall arrives, back to school overwhelm decreases, and the push towards the holiday season begins. Before you know it, testing season is upon you, along with evaluations, field trips, and desperately counting down days until summer vacation. That doesn’t even touch what’s happening in your mind, body, and spirit as you move beyond the classroom. It’s a never-ending season of to-do lists for teachers, without an endless supply of time and energy. While some of you protect your personal time, many of you spend more time putting others’ needs before your own. Educators are notorious for burning the candle at both ends, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are 20 powerful ways to combat burnout by caring for yourself!
Create a Wellness Routine. Prioritize your health and wellness by getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and moving your body. Physical well-being significantly impacts your mind, body, and spirit. It’s okay to take breaks and focus on you!
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Set and Stick With Boundaries. Establish clear boundaries when you’re on your transition journey. It’s easy to get lost in everything along the way and feel overwhelmed. While it’s easier said than done, protect your time and energy so you can show up where it matters most!
Leverage Your Time. Create a schedule that works for your well-being. The demands of teachers can be mentally exhausting. When you add in a transition, like switching careers, ending a relationship, or grieving your teacher identity, you can feel depleted. Set aside time for quiet breaks during your day and unplug when you get home.
Delegate Your To-Do List. Consider how students or family members can help you with tasks. Giving your students more responsibilities increases their sense of belonging and purpose within your classroom. Family members are always willing to help out when they know you need it. Sharing responsibilities can lighten your workload and give you time to breathe.
Implement Mindfulness and Relaxation Strategies. Schedule a Reiki session, practice mindfulness daily, meditate, connect to your spirit through breath, or tap into your innate creativity to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
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Listen to Inspiring Podcasts. Listening to your favorite podcasts about where you see your future self or life in general. It can support your journey or help you explore options for different careers teachers transition into with transferable skills and experience.
Find Your Tribe. Cultivate strong relationships with like-minded souls. When going through any transition, sharing experiences in or out of the classroom can create a supportive network to lean on whenever you need it.
Seek Professional Help. If burnout persists or you notice signs of anxiety or depression, consider speaking with a counselor or therapist who specializes in burnout and stress management.
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Check in With Yourself. Regularly check in with your body, mind, and spirit. If you need rest, then rest. If you could use a boost in energy levels, nourish your body. If your mind is spiraling out of control, find ways to externalize self-doubting thoughts to avoid mental overwhelm and exhaustion. If you’re lacking purpose, spend time with good friends, tap into your creative flow, or find time to connect with your spirit. Flexibility can help prevent burnout.
Celebrate Mini-Power Steps. Acknowledge every step in your journey of healing and growth, no matter how small they may seem. Treat yourself to something special to mark benchmarks, so you always have a memory or material reminder of how far you’ve come!
Do What You Love and a Lot of It! Do you remember how care-free and good it felt to ride your bike, run around the playground, sing, draw, or daydream? Teachers watch kids have fun all the time, but how often do you live a life as joyously as them?
Decorate Your Classroom With Reminders. You spent a lot of time (and probably money) at the beginning of school decorating your classroom. It inspires learning and creates a comfortable space for your students. Did you intentionally add elements to remind you of your journey? Whether it’s a journey of loving your career or finding a new one, adding simple design elements can keep you grounded in the moment and looking towards the future.
Go Easy on Yourself When Things Aren’t Perfect. Striving for perfection is not only exhausting, but can also lead to burnout. Teachers often want everything to be perfect for each lesson, and it trickles into other areas of your life.n But that’s a lot of pressure to place upon yourself. Give yourself grace when giving 100% is only 40% for the day. Know that you gave 100% of the 40% you could manage.
It Will Get Better, Whatever It Is. Life is full of fleeting and temporary moments. The version of you who first stepped into the classroom is no longer the version standing before the mirror today. Whatever is going on in your life is only temporary. It will get better, whatever it is.
Take Breaks During Your Day: Sometimes the school day can seem never-ending when you’re navigating life changes. Maybe they fly by and you’re rushing through any free time you have to run to the bathroom, shovel down your lunch, or work on school work. Be intentional with your time and protect it. Breaks help you recharge. Even a few minutes can make a difference in your energy levels and your mood.
Activate Your Third Eye Chakra: You have a creative and powerful imagination. As you awake each morning or when you simply need a boost, tap into your third eye chakra. It’s the center of your mind’s eye, imagination, and envisioning superpower. Your imagination is the one thing nobody can see or take from you. Focus on things that bring joy and purpose to your life, then express gratitude for them.
Get Career Help When Needed: With the mass exodus of teachers looking outside of the classroom, it’s okay to ask for help. One of the first resources I used to upskill was Teacher Transition with Ali Parrish. Her courses helped me rewrite my resume, start the initial steps of my business, and I apply ID skills from her Become a Curriculum and Instructional Designer course!
Plan Time for Personal Development: Transitioning teachers often spend time upskilling with professional development preparing for a career pivot. It’s also important to pursue personal interests and passions outside of your career journey. Not only will your spirit grow while in this classroom called Earth, but this can also provide a sense of fulfillment and balance.
Express Gratitude: Whether you’re in or out of the classroom, reflecting about your career as a teacher gives you an opportunity to express gratitude for experiences meant to help you evolve both personally and professionally. Take time at the end of each day to reflect and express gratitude for all of the little treasures you experienced with pure appreciation.
Learn to Say NO! As people pleasers and overachievers, it’s easy for educators to say yes to anything and everything, despite an already overflowing plate. If you’re secretly wanting to stand up for yourself and say no, then start practicing it. Practice in the mirror or tell your family members to support you by holding you accountable. You are your best advocate. The power to say yes or no always starts with you.
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Remember that burnout is a real issue, and taking steps to prevent or address it is essential for both your well-being and the quality of education you provide. You’re constantly pouring into others, and it’s essential to start pouring into you! If not, you won’t be able to show up where it matters most.