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Be happy teacher. 

In order for us teachers to be the best version of ourselves and to be able to teach and look after the wellbeing of our students, it is imperative that we look after our own wellbeing first.

We often get so caught up with our workload inside and outside the classroom that we forget to look after ourselves, allowing our own wellbeing to deteriorate and become neglected. The reality of it all is this, if we don’t look after ourselves, no one else will. Teaching is the most honourable and selfless occupation on the planet, full stop.

Teachers are the most caring, empathetic, loyal, selfless types of humans to walk on this earth. We realise that our jobs will never make us millionaires and that the true reward and job satisfaction comes intrinsically. This is an amazing, honourable trait to have. This honest and admirable trait that teachers posses is more often exploited by those intended on squeezing every ounce of labour from their workforce.

Teachers need to learn to realise that there needs to be a cut off point and know when to just say ‘no: I need some me time!' 

All primary and secondary research states that teachers are dealing with excessive workloads and unnecessary added pressure to perform, so it is no surprise that 70% of teachers claim that their job has adversely had an impact on their mental or physical health. As a teacher, you need to learn to disengage from your profession, the classroom and find a happy work – life balance.

Looking after you, is not a selfish act, it is compulsory and should be treated as a maintenance programme. A drained battery will lose the quality of output and eventually becomes lifeless. How can you be the best version of you when you are operating a quarter full and lethargic? Don’t do it.

Once we learn to prioritise our own wellbeing using a variety of strategies that work for us, we will be able to cope with the inevitable work based stress. We are more likely to become more resilient when faced with situations and are more likely to handle them with a smile. Remember, we also inspire and are role models for our students.

  1. Breathe -  Take deep breaths. I’m sure you have heard this regularly, especially when you feel overwhelmed. Taking deep, long breaths has a positive mental effect as it simulates a state of relaxation as and sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. When stressed the body responds with increased heart rate, fast breathing and raises blood pressure, not good. Click this LINK to sync your breathing.
  2. Move -  Even 10 minutes of moderate exercise can make a difference to your state of mind – if you can do it with your class even better- dance, run, hop, skip, jump, walk, wriggle and jiggle.
  3. Laugh - Give your students a task to come up with a funny story. Do a laughing exercise with your students like standing in a circle and making each other laugh. Play a game like 'Make the King Laugh' or 'You know I Love You, but I Just Can’t Smile'. These games can be included as part of your lesson either as a reward or to engage emotion with the learning.
  4. Connect - Relationships are the best predictor of wellbeing. Teaching can be an isolated profession. Connect with colleagues and ask for help if you need it. 
  5. Be Grateful - Introduce a gratitude exercise with your class like a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar. Writing and talking about the things you are grateful for has positive effects on your wellbeing and levels of stress in your life.
  6. We all accept that teacher stress is going to happen at some point in the week but preparing yourself to manage your own wellbeing is crucial to dealing it when it comes. These simple strategies, that you can use at school, will increase your wellbeing; making you a more balanced teacher and will improve your students' achievements.

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