The past two years have taken a toll on teachers. Between the constant changes of protocol and keeping parents updated, it’s become increasingly difficult to take care of yourself. As a result, you may, like many, find yourself feeling the pandemic blues.
Some symptoms of the pandemic blues include:
-Feelings of anxiety, worry, fear, and/or irritability
-Increased or decreased appetite
-Feelings of depression and hopelessness
While we can’t fix all these problems ourselves, we can take steps to ensure our mental health is as good as it can be under these stressful circumstances. We’ve rounded up 10 things to work into your daily routine to keep your mind at peace through the chaos.
Give yourself a grading limit
We know— you want to get it done all at once— but when you’re grading well into the night, you’ve likely burnt yourself out. Set a time every evening when you will put the pen down and move on to something you enjoy. If you’re under a tight deadline, give yourself little breaks after every few finished grades.
Split up your housework
When the weekend comes around, it’s tempting to try and get everything done while you have the time. The major downside to that is the fact you’ve spent your entire weekend doing more work instead of recharging. Think back to when you were a kid and the chore schedule you had—take that route! Designate certain days for laundry, others for straightening up, and so on. You’ll be glad to have your weekends back!
Try that new thing you’ve been meaning to get around to
That new show you’ve heard all about is waiting for you! That MasterClass you bought a new notebook for isn’t going to attend itself! Whatever you’ve been putting off, now’s the time to do it.
Give yourself something to look forward to
Whether it’s date night with your partner or a Zoom happy hour with friends, schedule something in the future to act as an extra motivator. The week will go by a lot faster if you have something to look forward to on Friday!
Use weekends to relax
Sleep in and stay in your pajamas or wake up early and hike your favorite trail. Whatever relaxation means to you, make that your priority for the weekend. You can’t be your best on Monday if you’re still exhausted, so take this as your permission to totally let loose.
Get extra support
There’s a lot of stigma around seeing a therapist in the United States, mainly because people believe their problem isn’t “big enough” in order to seek help. The truth is, if something is interrupting your day-to-day life, it is big enough. There’s no shame in seeking out extra support when you need it.
Plan lessons with your fellow teachers
If there’s anyone who understands what you’re going through, it’s your peers at work. When your planning period comes around, take that time to get together with other teachers and bounce ideas off each other. It’ll make the process more enjoyable, and you’ll get some time to catch up with your colleagues too. That socialization is important!
Do something nice for your coworkers
You know what they say—what goes around, comes around! A gesture even as small as a kind note on another’s desk is sure to make their day, so you’ll feel good in turn. Add this to your daily routine and who knows, one small act of kindness could lead to a movement of kind gestures around your school!
Do a social media detox
The world at our fingertips is a double-edged sword. For every post that makes you feel good, there are thousands more that make you feel worse. Unfollow accounts that don’t empower and inspire you, and set a limit for how long you’ll scroll every day. You can even make it a game with your colleagues—who can stay off social media the longest? Winner gets a Starbucks gift card! 😉
Make a daily playlist of happy music
Studies show that people who intentionally listen to happy, upbeat music see an improvement in their overall mood in just two weeks. Put a playlist together of only music you listen to when you’re at your happiest, and listen to it every day.