We live in an unprecedented world, where unpredictability runs the world. Who would have thought about a pandemic running across every street and corner, bringing the world to a halt and stand still? Being on a constant house arrest while tackling something that no one had ever imagined to witness. While the world moved on accepting the harsh truths and choosing alternative paths, the educators and counselors were provided with yet another duty of taking extra care of their kids. Teachers are already accustomed to taking care of the social wellbeing of their students and trained to keep a special check on bullying and any sort of mental worry such as anxiety, depression, aggression etc., and with the onset of the pandemic, it was asked to be more stressed upon. But what others missed was what needed more attention. The educators’ health has always been a point of concern yet ignorance is bliss and that ignorance is exercised by everyone in general, the Educators included.
On average, many teachers pull a 60-hour workweek giving up their leisure time including their weekends to fulfill their duties as educators. This has led to an immense amount of pressure and has been affecting their physical health and their mental health unknowingly. This has led to many cases of exhaustion which have also led to a lack of teaching abilities and focus on them.
The unbalance between work and their life is the prime reason for the hurdles that educators have to primarily face. An unbalanced life and workload pulls the teacher into a “no-action zone” and dries their motivation down the hill, making the additional tasks and projects impossible and a sense of overwhelming feeling engulfing them. But what they need to remember is to strive for progress rather than perfection.
What can you do at work?
Set Office hours:
One of the biggest boons as well as a bane of the pandemic is remote teaching. You can sit at your homes and do the teaching, but that has now led to the interference of our working hours with the home hours. The boundaries that were supposedly keeping the two apart have vanished leading to the merger of the both. Make sure that you set a proper timing for your office work and know when and where to finish it off.
A Dedicated Work Space:
When you have a dedicated workspace it makes your mind alert automatically. It tricks your brain into thinking that it’s a workplace and being more productive and helps you disconnect from work more easily and keep you healthy. It provides you with proper work life and mental health. By creating a dedicated corner as a workspace, you are designating it to be a work only corner. It will train your brain into disconnecting from the outside world and distractions.
Spacing out your tasks:
One of the major things that educators must focus on is balance in their work. Once they do achieve a balance in their work it becomes easier to have balance in their work-life and mental health. Scheduling a time for each task would make it easier for you to handle them. Also, prioritizing your work often increases the chances of reducing your workload.
Keeping the emails off:
Logging out of your email after you are done with your working hours creates a boundary between your personal and professional lives. The horror of home emails is a nightmare that no one should be allowed to witness. A nice evening time, with family or just having a walk around your neighborhood should be able to keep your mental peace at bay. So, even if it means giving a few extra min or hours to your work, make sure you don’t let the emails get to your home.
A work schedule:
Having a routine for your work makes your work all the easier and doable. You can schedule your tasks on a day to day basis, for example, Mondays, we do the planning, and Tuesdays are Projects, Wednesdays for grading and so on. Further scheduling your tasks with a planner will also be a boon for you for all your work will be prioritized and have a schedule to be pondered upon.
Eliminate Wasted Time and Tasks:
Wasting your time on a task that isn’t necessary is a waste costing you a fortune. This isn’t about the limiting of how much work you can get done and what you can let slide, but about managing the importance and dealing with the rest accordingly. Managing your work in a few hours can make you more efficient, as you can deal with lesser time. Working fewer hours does not mean that you are being less efficient as long as you are doing something productive during that time.
How can you focus on your mental health?
While there is no doubt that the teachers do maximum communication, here we are referring to their mental health. Communicating about all the stress and worry and about the negative thought process taking place in your mind, with your family members or the close ones, so that they don’t cluster and clutter in your mind leading to more stress, anxiety, breakdowns and other health problems,
It has been proved that speaking and communicating makes hearts lighter. Since the family is always supportive and motivating, they will help you out of any and every situation, possible. Sharing your problems and frustrations can help your family understand what you’re going through and how to go about helping you.
Seek a professional mentor
You are not alone when you feel overwhelmed and end up questioning your abilities and yourself about everything. It’s normal to feel that. But if you feel that it is getting out of hand then you can seek out a mentor for yourself. A professional mentor knows exactly what you must be going through and taking the pressure off you. They can offer you the right support and guide you in dealing with all that is overwhelming.
Spend some time doing your Hobby
Hobbies are meant to be pleasing activities that help you keep your mind at ease. Helping your mind stay distracted. Hobbies help you stay calm and composed, inducing the release of happy hormones making you feel happy and calm.
Hobbies play a major role in making you feel good. They help you cope with stress, anxiety and other counterparts. Indulging in an activity that you like to do will surely get you out with a fresh feeling and make you motivated.
According to a renowned personal trainer – Reuben Aryiku, one of the biggest challenges in an educator’s life right now is the sedentary lifestyle that they are forced into. Make sure that you pay extra attention to your physical health too. Physical exercises play a very crucial role in maintaining your mental health and keeping you healthy. They will cater freshness into your mind making you feel better in all aspects. Exercising is one of the ways which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure you exercise every once in a while even if it is a 10 min walk.
It’s a known fact that educators have been vastly affected by the pandemic if not regularly. They already used to have a very hard time handling the workload and maintaining good mental health, but the onset of a pandemic has affected them vastly. The psychologists have been mentioning the importance of care in the field of educators, studying them thoroughly. The need for research in the vast areas has led to a demand for mental health jobs in the field to manage and resource out the research. With lots of hands-on decks, they are working on solutions to work out for an easier life for the teachers.
There is a quote that says “He who cans, does, and He who cannot, teaches”
It has been mentioned, the teaching of the profession is the easiest of them all. But little do they realize that the life of educators is the most difficult one. It is very necessary to create boundaries between work and life to attain proper mental health.