We have been acknowledging and applauding the efforts of frontline workers like doctors, nurses, and delivery boys during the ongoing pandemic. But a very crucial section of our population has not been given its due credit and attention. By now, you may have guessed that I am referring to our teachers whose mental health can get affected when teaching from home.
Why Mental Health of Teachers is getting Affected?
With conventional teaching methods becoming redundant in remote teaching, most teachers had to grapple with finding new ways to impart knowledge to their students. Some teachers lacked the technical knowledge to create teaching tools, videos, and create tests online and had to become learners themselves overnight, burning the midnight oil.
Female teachers especially have the added stress of juggling between home and work, taking care of their children while teaching the school children. Some teachers suffered from COVID infection or had to be caregivers to a family member suffering from COVID while also continuing with their teaching work full time.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers, school counselors, and school employees remained acutely focused on supporting their students both academically and emotionally often forgetting their own happiness. Unfortunately, the focus on the mental health of the educators has been less than desired.
That’s why we have put together 10 of the best Mental Health tips to take care of the wellness of teachers during the COVID 19 pandemic.
1.Assign Time for Self-Care to maintain Your Mental Health
As Teachers , you have been teaching healthy practices and preventing physical illness of your students but forget to take care of your mental health. It is very important to carve out some me- time to prioritize the other things that make us feel better like exercise, reading a new book, writing a diary, meditation, or spending time indulging in your hobby. Make it a routine to keep aside a certain time of the day for yourself, however small it may be.
2.Your Mental Health improves with a dedicated Work Space
Having your designated workstation at home can improve your Mental Well-being. When working from home as an online educator, you can quickly fall into an unhealthy balance between work and life, with no boundaries especially if you are working from your bedroom or living room. Having a dedicated workplace even if it is a small corner, helps you disconnect from your surroundings and concentrate better on your work. It also keeps you more organized and saves precious time setting up your workspace and trying to find things every time you need to work. Having your workspace sends an outward message to those in your life that when you are in that space you are working, and also sends an internal message to your brain when it is work mode and when it is time to disconnect and relax.
3.Set Office Hours while Teaching Online
You may be messing up your mental health when you are accessible to your colleagues at all times. You need to set boundaries. Identify and communicate to others the designated time when you will be available for your students or colleagues. There are some Learning Management Systems like Class for Zoom that makes it easier for one-to-one conversations during class while other LMS platforms allow you to set office hours in the platform.
4.Teachers get moving to help your Mental Health
Before the pandemic, you were moving through corridors and taking stairs throughout the day moving from one class to another, now You are relegated to one corner of your home. Remind yourself to take a small walk around your house or stretch a bit in between classes to keep your body active. Physical fitness helps in mental fitness too, read more here.
5. Practice Self-Compassion for Mental Wellness
The pandemic has sensitized us to the need for compassion, compassion for our domestic help, for the migrant worker, for the stray dog on the street! But what about compassion for yourself? Now is the time to talk to yourself, be kind to yourself when you commit a mistake, don’t beat yourself up about a missed deadline, set goals for yourself, this will not only benefit your mental wellness but also percolate down to others who interact with you.
6.Set Reasonable Expectations
This is one of the most important Mental health tip for teachers.
We need to acknowledge that we are amidst a pandemic and it is here to stay. Things are going to be different, and that is okay. You can’t expect to be as productive as you had been under normal circumstances. If you are trying to balance between taking care of your family, educating your students on top of your own kids, there is no possible way that you can excel all the time. It is important to set small and realistic goals and expectations not only from yourselves but also from others around you, that way you will be setting yourself up to feel much more fulfilled and help maintain your mental health.
7. Communication is the Key always
For maintaining your mental health as a Teacher, you need to connect and communicate and let people know what is going on– especially colleagues and supervisors. By being transparent about what you are experiencing, you can bring them and create and expand your own network of resources and support. This will also encourage others to communicate with you and create a more positive atmosphere at work.
8. Stop saying “Sorry” to improve your Mental Well-being
Yes, times are tough and you may make mistakes or self-perceived mistakes. As a teacher, you may teach children to say sorry but do not let it turn into a habit. Apologizing all the time shows you in a bad light. It can put you on a guilt trip that will only mess up your mental health. Politeness is one thing, being a doormat is another.
Consider well how often you apologize and whether you truly need to.
Do not apologize if you think your presentation could have been better even when no one else knows it. Do not apologize if you think it was not your fault, Don’t apologize when you have been upset. Be unapologetic about taking time for yourself, setting boundaries, and being clear and transparent about what you are capable of and what you need from others. This is so important for maintaining your mental health and wellness.
9. Control only what you CAN During COVID-19
There are a hundred things that are simply beyond your control, what will the future hold, who will be impacted by COVID-19, how things will evolve?
Don’t let things beyond your control affect your Mental Health. Focus instead on the so many things that you can control: how you spend some of your time, what you choose to prioritize, what you consume (and how frequently), and even your mindset to just name.
By focusing on things you can control, you will feel more in control of the situation and improve your mental health.
10.Reach Out before your Mental Health goes for a toss
If despite trying everything you feel burned out, and do not enjoy things, do not find time for self-care, or if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself– do not hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional who can identify your problem and help.
After all , teachers are the pillars that support our nation by grooming the future generation , so YOUR mental wellbeing matters !
( This post is a part of Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter Initiative to raise awareness about mental health)
Images : Canva
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