As a former full time teacher I really wish I had access to someone who could have helped me to manage my stress and taught me effective strategies to alleviate my anxiety. Sadly, this was not available to me as a teacher and I left the profession I loved feel burnt out and scared for my mental wellbeing.
Over the last four years since leaving my role as Head of Department, Dyslexia Specialist and English teacher I have learned more than I ever thought possible about stress management and self- care. To be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was go back into a school but I am proud to say that the techniques I learned helped me to recover and return part time to the career I care about.
After significant personal investment in my own clinical training and well- being, I am now ready now to share what I know with colleagues in schools and academies to help other hard working and heart centred professionals who may be feeling the way I felt four years ago: over stressed, overwhelmed and worried about their own mental and physical wellbeing.
In my business as a therapeutic coach, I work with teachers and support to help them manage stress effectively and learn to be more mindful in their approach to situations and events they consider difficult or challenging. I understand how working in schools can feel like ‘fire- fighting’ at times, as things can move very quickly; flexibility of thought is crucial to maintaining the flow of work within and between departments including, planning, book scrutiny, data capture and parents/carers evenings. Often every week has a deadline of sorts let alone coping with students who have differing needs and abilities. Without self- care, balance and emotional resilience school staff can often reach burn out within a single term.
It is inevitable that at times, situations will arise that may lead to heightened emotional responses and staff can feel very vulnerable. It is at these times that colleagues’ support can make the difference in helping a member of staff to feel in control of their emotional state, a misunderstanding can sometimes lead to staff members feeling overwhelm and mental fatigue.
There has been a lot written recently about the benefits of utilising mindfulness in the work place, the improvements in using mindfulness practice alone are well documented and include:
- Reduced psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety),
- Reduced emotional reactivity to stress/enhanced behavioural management,
- Enhanced attentional skills,
- Increase in compassion and altruistic behaviour.
(Bohlmeijer, 2010; Keng, 2011; Weng, 2013)
Further information on the specific workshops can be found below: