Managing Stress

As frontline staff, Section 23 teachers and educational assistants are no strangers to a significant level of daily stress. Most of you, I’m sure already have  many strategies for managing stress. However, there is no harm in taking a few minutes now and then to remind ourselves to make a commitment to  healthy stress reduction and management in order to control, or minimize the long term negative heath implications of chronic stress.

A few key points from: How Successful People Stay Calm, by Dr Travis Bradbeer.

  • moderate, intermittent levels of stress are not harmful and as long as the stress isn’t chronic, it can keep the brain alert
  • the onset of stress stimulates the growth of new brain cells responsible for improved memory; however when stress becomes prolonged, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.
  • chronic stress decreases cognitive performance and increases the risk of heart disease, depression, obesity
  • the good news is that stress is subjective and can be controlled

“Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.”

teachers under stress.

Photo from The Guardian

Ten strategies that successful people use to manage their stress:

  1. Cultivate a daily  attitude of gratitude 
  2. Avoid worrying about what might go wrong
  3. Make a conscious effort to shift attention away from negative to positive thoughts
  4. Reduce stressors by scheduling regular breaks from work, technology and mobile devices
  5. Limit  intake of caffeine 
  6. Make regular exercise & high quality sleep a priority 
  7. Squash negative self-talk
  8. Reframe unproductive thought patterns –or a tendency to catastrophize-that cause stress and anxiety to spike
  9. Focus on mindful breathing in stressful situations 
  10. Develop and tap into a work/personal support systems to talk things through when feeling overwhelmed

To read the Dr, Bradbeer’s full article:

Additional reading

Hill, Amelia, The Guardian. Depressed, stressed: teachers in crisis.

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