Pressure and stress are a normal part of a teacher’s life, but as teachers and SNAs make the transition from remote teaching back to school, we are mindful of the additional stress and challenges they face as they work to re-establish connections and rebuild relationships. While the physical aspects of returning to school are essential for health and safety, the mental, social and emotional well-being of staff also has to be considered during this transition.
A transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with a situation, make sense of it and come to live with – something we are all experiencing during this global pandemic.
Evidence shows that quality relationships in our lives can act as a buffer or a protective factor, particularly during times of change and transition. There are other steps we can take also to help our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Dr Margaret O’ Rourke’s, our Clinical Director, shares tips here from her LifeMatters Academy to help buffer the impact of stress and uncertainty at this time.
BODY HEALTH: Being aware of stress and how your body feels when you are stressed is a first step. Stress impacts us all differently so be aware of your body’s warning signs that stress is building. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, getting fresh air and enough sleep can help to keep tension under control.
Understand your context, what is happening and what precisely is making you stressed or uncomfortable. By understanding what stresses you, you can start to build ways to cope better.
FOCUS on what you can control, not what you cannot. Write down your goals for the day. Small steps. Keep things simple and structured. Focus on the positives, what is realistic and what is achievable.
FIND balance. Make sure energy out is balanced with energy in. Step back and rest when you have had a stressful day. Be gentle on yourself. Find three wins for each day and write them down. Feel good about what you have achieved.
ENGAGE with others and ask for help when you need it. Relationships are a key socials determinant of health and wellbeing. Communicate regularly with family, friends and with colleagues. You may find that others are feeling stressed also and that shared experience can help to normalise things for you. You may find that they can support you and help you to cope better.
RESET rest, relax and restore. Develop a decompression and reset routine. Perhaps it’s going for a walk, listening to music or phoning a friend. Activate resources to help manage pressure and to help you to feel supported. Remember the importance of relationships, connection and reconnections – the power of human interaction can never be underestimated.