On Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to talk about how important it is for people in the education community to look after their mental wellbeing.
As teachers and school staff, you are around children all day, having to portray yourself as a positive figure that they look up to. Sometimes it can be hard to maintain that image, especially when going through something in your personal life. We’d like to bring awareness to school staff and teachers’ mental health and share some advice.
Taking care of your mental health
Talk with your peers and be open
Sometimes, putting what’s on your mind into words can really help you come to terms with it and make you feel better. Be open, talk about your feelings and worries with your peers – someone might be going through something similar or could have really good advice, or it might just help you to have someone who will listen. Rants can be very freeing – don’t underestimate their power.
Take a break
In a school environment, it’s easy to get lost into long to-do lists and working for hours on end without even a short break. Make some time for yourself, save an hour or at least a few minutes during your work day to get some fresh air, have a refreshing drink, or chat to some colleagues, and take your mind off work for a bit.
As dedicated teachers and school staff can be, it’s important to remember to focus on your work/life balance and separate the two accordingly. If you can help it, don’t take your workload home – bringing work related tasks and worries back home takes away the sense of comfort and happiness that your home should have.
Get some good sleep
Try to maximise the amount of sleep you get every night. If you know you have to be up early in the morning, go to sleep a little bit earlier the night before and avoid too much screen time before bed. Waking up feeling rested can single-handedly determine the way your day is going to go.
You work hard every day and dedicate yourself to students completely: it’s a tough job that doesn’t get nearly enough appreciation. Know your worth: you deserve a reward! Whether that’s going for a nice meal on the weekend, or watching your favourite show in the evening, prioritise that: you deserve it.
Be the best example you can
Not only as a teacher, but as a human being, you should do everything you can to look after your mental wellbeing. However, remember that your mental health also has an impact on your teaching and the success of your students. You are a role model to them, and having a positive attitude, raising awareness, and explaining how important it is to ask for help when struggling can make all the difference.