Is it normal to feel this stressed?
There’s no denying the pressures on staff within the classroom have increased over recent years, sadly resulting in a record number of teachers deciding to leave the profession. Recognising how increased job pressures can contribute to stress and anxiety is key in deciding what you need to do to look after yourself.
Why you are more stressed
It can be easy to blame yourself if you feel that you are not coping as well with work related stress as you used to, however there can be all sorts of reasons for this, such as;
- More being expected from you as resources reduce
- Continual changes
- Increasing/ more demanding outcome measures/targets
- Increased stress outside of work having an impact
Is my stress normal?
I thought it would be interesting to look at some typical signs of stress, and when it starts to become unhealthy stress, rather than manageable levels you would expect to see within a challenging profession such as teaching. Sometimes these symptoms can creep up slowly meaning that people do not notice something is awry until it all feels too overwhelming, and functioning is then impacted.
Some stress and anxiety within a job is normal, and typical non-problematic symptoms may include;
- Occasional sleep disturbance from an issue arising that requires some thinking through
- Occasional physical symptoms such as a hammering heart, when doing something that takes you out of your normal comfort zone, eg when making a presentation
- Temporary feelings of frustration or anxiety, that do not last long as situations get resolved
Stress symptoms that can indicate something more serious include;
If you recognise some of the symptoms from the list above, it’s a good idea to take some time out to think about self care and coping strategies to enable you to thrive in your work environment, rather than struggle through.
Here are some examples of what to do should you feel that your stress levels are beginning to impact your general wellbeing:
Learn to say no!
hence loss of sleep, inability to switch off, concentrate etc. If this is the case, take a step back and decide what you think can feasibly be done within the time you have, and what is going to be a struggle, and speak to your line manager to see what can be reallocated. If the response you receive isn’t favourable, it might be time to be honest about the impact you feel work overload is having on you.
Quite often the most conscientious employees are the people who find it hard to say no when asked to do something by a colleague; whilst it is a lovely trait to want to help colleagues out, if you are struggling for time yourself, being able to tell a colleague very nicely but firmly you would love to be able to help, but you are under pressure to get your own work done at the moment is perfectly reasonable.
Look after your mind
Note down your thoughts and feelings and notice of there is a pattern or certain triggers. There are various stress/anxiety apps available that enable you track your mood. Journalling can also be a helpful way of understanding what is underneath some of the symptoms you are experiencing. Try not to brush certain thoughts or feelings away as insignificant.
Get some work/life balance
Use your support network
will help to normalise your responses. Connecting authentically with people who love us is a massive stress reliever.