If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I suffered from teacher burnout and took a medical leave from November to March. I wasn’t managing my stress very well, to put it mildly. Matt Bukirin offered to share his insights for managing teacher stress in the following article. I’d like to thank Matt for being a guest author. I hope you find his advice useful. You can read more of Matt’s health tips on Movemo.
How Teachers Can Manage Stress through Five Fitness Tips
It’s pretty well known that stress manifests itself in many different ways. It negatively impacts the brain and the nervous system causing both harmful behavioral and physiological shifts such as overeating, headaches, irritability, and a suppressed immune system. The effects of stress can be especially harmful for, who day in and day out are doing one of the most important jobs, cultivating the minds of our youth. So what can teachers do to help manage stress and increase their ? Make physical fitness a priority. Multiple studies such as those published by the International Journal of Workplace Management have found that increasing fitness levels has several mental and health benefits including stress reduction and increase in productivity.
After a couple years of living with roommates who are teachers, I’ve discovered a few easy tips managing stress through fitness and increasing well being when your office is a classroom.
Join a recreationalor make your own group.
By joining a recreational sports club like a weekend volleyball or soccer team, I’ve seen teachers get more fit while playing away the stresses of their jobs. If you aren’t capable of committing to a club with regular practices and games then start your own recreational group. Invite a few friends and colleagues to play at the nearby park over the weekend.
Start an after school fitness activity for your students.
This can be in the form of a sport or even setting up group runs or races. Not only will this keep you accountable to being active but you will serve as a good role model that healthy habits in their lives.
Sign up for a race, half or full marathon with your colleagues.
Many of my friends who are teachers have signed up for these each year knowing that it is the one kick in the butt that will force them to train and stay fit (you would have to be real foolish to sign up for a marathon and expect to finish without training).
Set up a fitness challenge with prizes for staff at your school
I’ve seen this popping up more and more in schools. The idea is to set up a group challenge for teachers and staff by splitting people into teams and asking individuals to commit to a fitness challenge that they must complete to earn points for their team. Try to be creative and have good prizes. You would be surprised how many people are willing to participate once a game, challenge and prize are set up.
Set up your own homeor bring equipment into the classroom
If you’re too busy and or just don’t want sign up for a gym membership, building your personal home gym is a great alternative. You don’t need much maybe a few dumbbells, resistance bands, and a jump rope could easily get you started. You could even bring some of these things into the classroom for a quick workout during lunch or as a break from grading papers. Making a workout accessible at home is a great and easy way to stay fit. So grade a few papers in your living room and then make an easy transition into yourout.
So here are a few tips that have helped a few teachers manage stress and increase well being by making fitness a priority. I encourage you to try a few out and see what works. Feel free to shoot me a few comments if you have some more creative ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Bukirin is a NASM certified trainer and member of Movemo, a health and fitness company that teaches and empowers those who move our world forward to live healthier so that they can increase the change they make in the world.