One element of teaching that doesn’t get addressed often enough is the amount of stress teachers experience and how to manage that stress. As a new teacher, you will be bogged down with teaching, learning how to manage a classroom, grading, meetings, and everything else that goes along with education. It has taken me a long time to realize how important taking care of myself is to my teaching practice–no matter how much you may feel like you don’t have the time to exercise, eat right, or even just have some fun, it is an integral part of being an effective teacher.

I’ve listed some tips below that might help with some of this:

  • Schedule time in for “fun”–it may sound strange to schedule this in, but if it isn’t scheduled ahead of time, it will be the first thing to go;
  • Keep healthy snacks in your classroom–donuts, chocolate, sweets, pizza, and other snacks seem to abound in the education world and too often I have relied on these to get me through the day, so keeping granola bars or trail mix within reach is a nice alternative;
  • Eating right outside of school–taking the time to cook something good for you seems like the last thing you want to do at the end of the day, but it will make a difference. Tip: make meals ahead of time that you can freeze and pull out during the week to save time;
  • Exercise–find time for this no matter what. Even if it’s just going for a brief walk at the end of the day before you sit down to grade papers, it will help you recharge and re-energize;
  • Find a stress management “buddy”–if you have a tough time doing any of the above on your own (like me), ask a friend or family member for support in any or all of the above areas. If you can’t find anyone you already know, pair up with another new teacher–they will more than likely thank you since they will be in the same situation.

Above all, take care of yourself first. It may seem impossible to do some of the above in the beginning, but once you do, you will notice a difference!

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