12 things teachers can do to help reduce stress in the New Year

Tips, ideas and inspiration to enjoy the new year

7. Exercise!

I know, you expected this one, and it’s one of those resolutions that can easily fail. The reason for this is that we set ourselves short-term unrealistic goals. Unless you’re a PE teacher, getting opportunities to exercise during the work day are incredibly limited, so how can you find time to exercise? We’re not even saying that you need to join a gym, all we’re calling for is that you put on a pair of walking shoes, and get outside.

Walk the dog. Walk the kids. Walk your partner. Go to the local shop and back. Walk around the local park. Just dress for the occasion, set yourself a goal of exercising at least a couple of times a week. It’s easy to make excuses, but exercise with an activity that you mildly enjoy. Cycling, swimming, yoga, walking – it’s not rocket science, and you know it!


8. Learn how to say “no” – Politely!

This is hard, let’s face it! One of the key components of successfully saying ‘no’ to tasks that add to your workload is to uphold politeness. Becoming even more polite is tricky when you’re trying to be assertive, but remaining polite makes it easier to connect with others, avoid offending people and will ensure that others perceive you as a good and trustworthy person.


9. Consider the next step/s in your career

Some people appear very content in their teaching role. They’ve been at the same school for YEARS, and there appears to be no drive to move onto a different role within a different setting. Each to their own. Yet, there is a big world out there, full of opportunity, new challenges, and career progression. If you are stuck in a rut in your current setting, then explore opportunities to move to another school. Many teachers have fled overseas to enhance their teaching careers, but this is more difficult when you have family to consider.

When you have a mortgage and family, the opportunities to move around may feel reduced, but you might be surprised to see what is available just that little bit further away. Many schools in remote parts of the country even offer levels of relocation packages, so keep your finger on the pulse, and explore opportunities outside your local area, as well as your region. You may be surprised, and it could open your eyes to greater opportunities. You can even reinvent yourself at a new location, so if you feel as though you are being held back, then now could be the time for you!


10. Face your fears and insecurities

Teachers come across as being confident and generally a peace with themselves, but behind the mask that we show our students usually resides an individual who feels fear and insecurity that are often the cause of several problems that we want to address. We all have an internal narrative, and most of the time it’s all about changing the conversation in our heads to something more positive. We tell our students this all the time, but are we any good at doing what we say? For many, no.

Many of our fears and insecurities are irrational, but school climates help to feed our internal conversations into negative feelings. This point feeds nicely into number 4, where we advocate that you should write, as this will help you refine, manage and face your fears and insecurities.


11. Become more social

This does not necessarily mean engaging even more on social media, although this can be a good way to start. If you work in a big school, then making connections with new staff in different departments can be a great way of developing your social and supportive network. You may be surprised to hear that they have similar professional challenges to you. We are a social species, but being locked away in your classroom looking after students, assessments, or planning can really feel isolating. Talking is critical, and using your voice to share your life experiences is equally essential. Having a buddy of some sort is good at sharing your experiences, and letting them share yours – it’s a great therapy, especially if you have someone who can positively challenge your thought processes and is prepared to listen. Expand your social circles, listen, talk, share your stresses, and share the positive, happy moments in your life.


12. Spend more time with the people that matter (hint, it’s not OFSTED)

Fundamentally, resolve to spend more time with your family and friends. Be strict with yourself on this matter, and allow no compromises. If you know staff meetings, or parent evenings are likely to be on a Tuesday nights, then plan ahead. Make a commitment to your friends or family that you will devote time and attention to them at various points (note the plural) during the week and weekend. Turn off social media. Plan an activity together. Enjoy being in the moment with those around you, love you and support you. They do. Really, they do! This is a precious and valuable resource. Put that paperwork down – go and spend positive time with the people who really matter in your life.


Setting realistic and achievable resolutions can positively change the trajectory of your outlook whilst, at the same time, manage the levels stress in your life.

Again, we urge you to share this post, and these ideas, with your colleagues and management in school. Discuss the ideas one by one during a staff meeting or inset, and explore how you can all work together to help reduce stress in your school, improving the well-being of all the school community.

Go on…have a great New Year!



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About @digicoled 447 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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