Managing May Stress

Ogun
Taken by Bill: Ogunquit, Maine 5-25-14

Like many of you in education, I’m managing stress these days. I call this the Merry Month of May with my tongue firmly in my cheek. This month and into June, there is hiring to be finished, schedules to formulate, students and teachers to be placed, and more.

Keep in mind that stress is not a bad thing…if we didn’t have some stress, we would never get up in the morning, and I wouldn’t have cut my lawn today or taken out the trash. I am blessed to rarely get sick from stress, but man, I do get headaches – ask our school nurse. There is a certain level of physical affects that we accept from stress. It’s made more difficult for all of us due to the nature of our school calendar that contain moments of great relief and great pressure. But it’s important that we take the edge off our anxiety as much as possible.

Granted, I don’t have a clue about stress compared with many of my teachers who are raising small children or others who are taking care of elderly parents. I have neither. But I know that there are certain simple rules that apply to all of us. And there are no surprises here:

1. Get enough sleep. (Or as much as possible). I can’t think of anything more important. If I’m working on school stuff at night, I have to do something different for at least 30 minutes before bed. Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of West Wing or reading something that’s non-education related in order to move my heart rate down and frankly, keep school thoughts out of my head. Otherwise, I’m thinking and planning at 11 PM instead of slowly getting into the REM cycle. Also…what are you eating and drinking right before bed? I can’t even touch caffeine or sugar within hours of bedtime. That will always keep me up.

2. Exercise. I have noticed that I am calmer and more focused on the evenings when I’ve been able to head to the gym before I head home. With the good weather, my wife and I (and whatever assorted child happens to be around) often go for a walk around the lake.

3. Having fun. There are many of my staff who care about me (thank you) and one mantra I hear loud and clear is the need for me to get away from the computer and simply do something fun. I am convinced that the mental diversion makes us so much more productive. We see it in our own students, don’t we?

Do you have any ideas? Love to share them while the merry month of May wraps up.

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