From education to employment

Five tips for managing your back-to-school mental health

David Price

The new school year is now in full swing, and with it come pressures, responsibilities and a large workload.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’re on top of your mental health here are a few tips to help.

  1. Exercise: just under a third of British people use exercise as a way to reduce the effects of the pressure they feel. It’s a great way to get rid of pent-up stresses—spending half an hour hitting a bag in the gym is relieving, and has the added benefit of improving your physical health as well.
  2. Mindfulness: Living in the now, and focusing on nothing but the present moment—that’s mindfulness. When you’re tuned in and aware of the present, without thinking about past or future events, you can reduce stress, improve mood—and importantly, rejuvenate your focus. It’s as simple as taking time to breathe. Spend a few minutes in a quiet place focusing on breathing deeply, in and out, without letting any other thoughts in.
  3. Socialise: it’s challenging to balance a healthy social life with the workload and pressure of teaching, but it is possible. Plan ahead—an evening every week dedicated to seeing friends and family. Let people know that your chosen day is free and build up a calendar. It might seem a little bit strange at first, and slightly formal, but once you’re in the habit of spending that evening with people you’ll stick to it.
  4. Sleep: probably the most essential piece of advice here. Sleep reduces stress, improves memory, lowers blood pressure, helps maintain weight, keeps your heart in good shape and reduces chances of disease. It’s challenging to face a long day in the classroom without a decent night’s sleep behind you.
  5. Organise: the workloads that face teachers is a thing of legend. It’s a good idea to use some of the technology made available in recent times to fight this. Free apps and websites that help plan, delineate and organise time are invaluable—much better than keeping a pen and paper diary. And there are plenty of forums and free support networks around, where teachers from around the world convene to help each other de-stress and decompress.

While it’s difficult in the current climate, the best way to help is to implement an employee assistance programme. These aren’t just for offices—all professions benefit from having a friendly listening ear who can dispense advice and offer counselling.

David Price, CEO and workplace wellbeing expert at Health Assured

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