Calling all Teachers: Relax, It’s Easter!

Okay… and breathe! Mable knows how hard you guys work so we are giving you a pat on the back and saying it’s time to get some rest!

Studies have shown that the Easter break is essential in preventing teachers from becoming exhausted and is a key time to restore your health and energy (Wigmore, 2015). So put down that marking, because it’s official, worrying about work is bad for your health!

Up to 30% of teachers leave the profession due to stress (Renshaw, Long & Cook, 2015).

Aside from parents, teachers are the people children have the most contact with during the week. So your wellbeing is key to your health and also the pupils in your class.

We know our blogs are mostly about helping pupils to develop but without their teachers being in tip-top health, there is the potential for children to miss vital learning opportunities. So for today, the focus is on teachers!

This blog hopes to give you some great advice about how to relax over the Easter break and will give you the reasons behind it all. Some ideas will be coming from our knowledge as Speech and Language Therapists and some will be relaxation tips from one professional to another. So let’s continue!

Tips For Teachers

Take Time For You

So my first point is exactly what it says in the title: take some time for you! It’s likely that amongst the marking, the budget meetings, looming Ofsted inspections and managing classroom life as a teacher, that you haven’t had much time for yourself recently.

Now, other blogs may start listing things e.g. go walking, read books, go to the spa… but I’m not going to because not everything applies to everyone. I mean, personally the idea of a hike on a chilly weekend in Yorkshire does not appeal to me, but it may for others. I’d be much happier having a swim and a glass of wine (not together)

The point I’m making is: spend some time doing what you love. So if it’s catching up on sleep and having a lie in, enjoy every minute of it!

Holidays are also about spending time with family and friends so do exactly that. Family and friends are a great support network throughout the year so immerse yourself and spend some good ol’ time with those around you.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness seems fairly new and can seem a little ‘out there’ if you haven’t heard of it before, but it’s basically an ancient mediation approach. The typical definition of mindfulness is paying attention on the present time and being aware of your thoughts, feelings and the environment around you. The science behind it relates to the prefrontal cortex in the brain and that here is increased activity in regions that regulate positive emotions (Ireland, 2014).

Although you can take training in mindfulness, there are tonnes of videos, apps and websites that guide you through the process. You can do as much or as little a day as you’d like, so it can easily fit it into your daily routine. I really love the headspace app. I have it on my phone and when I’m feeling a bit stressy, I’ll take 10 minutes for myself to relax and meditate. 

Honestly, it sounds a bit hippy-dippy but it’s great. You don’t need to have hours and hours of time (and quite frankly, who does?) but ten minutes I have found is achievable.

After all, mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and burn-out and contributes to effective teaching (Flook et al., 2013).

If you are fed-up of reading I’ve also included this little video to explain mindfulness to you…

Look After your Voice

As a teacher, your voice is such a precious tool and it needs some looking after.  Easter hols are prime time for sniffles, sore throats and general vocal fatigue. So over Easter try to stay away from too much of the booze and karaoke. You will thank me in the long run.

The tips below will provide you with some practical advice to help your voice over Christmas and back in the classroom:

Teachers are 4 times more likely to experience voice difficulties (Russell, Oates & Greenwood, 1998)

Tip Number 1: Avoid Yelling. Shouting damages your vocal folds so it may become difficult to speak or your voice may be hoarse. If you need to get the attention of the class, try to use non-verbal actions such as clapping or turning the lights off. But over Christmas, try to rest your voice or keep it at its typical volume.

Tip Number 2: Keep your Voice Hydrated. Water not only helps cognitive functioning, but hydrates the vocal folds. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate our bodies so these drinks should be enjoyed in moderation, try to substitute for water. Sip water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and your voice working perfectly.

Tip Number 3: Have Good Breath Support. Speaking when you are running out of breath really strains your voice. Use pauses and speaking slowly to ensure you have a good airstream.

If you have concerns about your voice, please see a Speech and Language Therapist… we will be able to help!

Next Term

It’s on the cards and there is no avoiding it, summer term will come around sooner than you think. Whilst, we’ve been talking about relaxing over the Spring break to manage stress, de-stressing over the whole year would be great as well. So let’s touch upon some tips for the Summer Term and how to manage a work-life balance.

  • Reflect on your previous term’s work-life balance and think about what helped you and what areas could be developed
  • Reward yourself when you achieve goals
  • Prioritise your workload
  • Set achievable targets to make a larger goal easier to achieve
  • Voice your stresses and worries by talking to your colleagues or friends (a problem shared is a problem halved after all!)

Hopefully, this blog has given you some key tips for having a relaxing Easter Spring break.

Remember to have some time for yourself and enjoy the break without feeling guilty!

Please share tips below in the comment section to help others teachers or tweet us @mableTherapy

Kara Munro

Kara Munro

Speech and Language Therapy Assistant

Kara is a final year undergraduate studying Speech and Language Therapy at Leeds Beckett University. She has a special interest in working with children with speech and communication needs.

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