20 Ways Fellow Educators Manage their Stress


The trees are changing colors, pumpkin spice is back, sweater weather is here, and school has been in session for about a month already. How are you feeling? Hopefully you’ve hit your school mode stride, but if stress is starting to creep into your daily routine, you’re not alone.

According to a Penn State research brief, 46% of teachers report a high level of daily stress during the school year due to soaring job demands - including high stakes testing, challenging parents, managing students with behavior problems, and lack of school resources.

Stress associated with teaching has been referred to as an epidemic which leads to burnout and a high teacher turnover rate - also negatively impacting student learning and success. 

Not all stress is bad (sometimes it can even be motivating), but long-term stress can lead to serious health concerns including heart disease, anxiety, depression, diabetes, muscle tension, insomnia…the list goes on and on. This article published by Mayo Clinic outlines the effects of stress on your body, strategies to manage stress, and information about when to seek help from medical professionals.

So how are fellow teachers managing their stress now that school is back in session? We asked and educators from around the country have graciously shared their plans for making their own well-being a top priority in 2019/2020:

  • Get regular exercise – even if it’s just 10 minutes per day
  • Keep quick, healthy snacks in my desk
  • Join a book club with friends
  • Do jigsaw and crossword puzzles for brain breaks
  • Establish the Tap-in/Tap-out strategy with colleagues to recharge
  • Ditch my teacher bag by setting a limit to the number of days schoolwork is brought home to grade
  • Practice yoga, CrossFit, and deep breathing exercises
  • Play with my kids at the park after school
  • Keep a 9:30 p.m. bedtime
  • Go out to dinner with my husband (just the two of us)
  • Walk 30 minutes every day
  • See a therapist monthly
  • Keep a gratitude journal (list 3-5 things I am thankful for everyday)
  • Attend water aerobics one day per week
  • Play students’ favorite music as they enter the classroom
  • Create a weekly schedule – and stick to it
  • Implement “Mindful Mondays” (Lead mindfulness exercises with students in the classroom every Monday morning to transition from the weekend)
  • Organize monthly potluck lunches with colleagues at school to socialize and build relationships with each other
  • Read for pleasure (at least one chapter a day)
  • Spend time outside everyday (green spaces and fresh air can work wonders!)

Although teaching is demanding and stressful, don’t lose sight of how rewarding and fulfilling it also can be. Here’s a positive statistic to leave you with - according to an ING Foundation Survey, 88% of people say a teacher has had a “significant, positive impact” on their life. 

Every day you are making a positive impact, indeed. You can’t pour from an empty cup, though. How will you manage your stress and focus on your own health and well-being in 2019/20? Please share your own ideas.


Here are a few classes related to this topic:

Jill Rockwell
Jill has over 13 years of experience as a licensed teacher in the areas of Special Education, Reading Education, and Health Education. She embraces diversity and has worked with students in grades K-12 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Jill completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls while teaching full time. She fully understands the soaring demands of today’s teachers. Her courses are designed to maximize the time of all educators by providing engaging, meaningful, and applicable activities which can be used to enhance teaching practices. She focuses on research-based best practices and technology integration throughout her own instructional practices. Together with her husband and two young boys, Jill enjoys traveling, biking and the changing seasons of the great outdoors in Wisconsin. 

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