9 Tips for Teachers To Prevent Burnout

If you put students first and have an undeniable passion to teach, sooner or later, working long hours without taking time to recharge will likely lead to burnout.

Burnout can leave you feeling tired and resentful. It’s essential to recognize the signs early to pace yourself and be effective at your job.

Top teachers, who understand the importance of self-care, form habits that help them stay ahead of things. Budgeting time to do the things you love helps keep you fresh.

Here are nine tips for teachers to prevent burnout:

  1. Be on the lookout for warning signs. People feel the effects of burnout in different ways. Perhaps you’re feeling weary and exhausted without the energy necessary to perform. Or maybe you feel sad or stressed out most of the time.
  • Some people experience blurred-vision or difficulty finding words or focusing on anything in front of them (called “tunnel vision”).
  • Or you might worry about work all the time, even when you aren’t working.
  • Once you’ve found the root of your burnout, it’s easier to handle it.
  1. Take regular breaks. Anywhere from 10-20 minutes can make all the difference between staying in your zone and falling asleep at your desk. When you feel burnout creeping up, take a break for your health and well-being.
  • Even if you’re only winding down for five minutes, sit somewhere quiet to think things over.
  1. Follow a good sleep pattern. Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of sleep each night are more likely to burn out. If you find yourself falling asleep at your desk or during lunch, try catching up on some zzz’s during weekends.
  1. Make regular exercise an essential part of your life. Regular exercise reduces stress and increases energy. If you aren’t a naturally athletic person, you might be surprised to find that exercise isn’t an inconvenient chore.
  • There are many ways to have fun while making your body feel better! If you can’t get out of the classroom, try some low-impact exercises like stretches while you’re at your desk.
  1. Set some goals. When you know you have something to work toward, it’s easier to get out of bed in the morning. With dreams, you give yourself a reason to go on, a direction for your energy.
  1. Identify the source of your burnout and fix it. You’ll have a more challenging time beating burnout if you don’t know what’s causing it. When you take some time to reflect, where do you feel tired, stressed, or resentful?
  • Put some things in writing. Are there things that you’re doing that are causing this feeling? If so, share your feelings with a co-worker, or even your administrator, to come up with possible solutions. You’ll be surprised if you just communicate.
  1. Go on a vacation. Remember: Fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Plan a trip somewhere fun that you can go for a few days. Go for some fresh air, take some time out of your schedule, and return feeling refreshed.
  1. Be consistent with your self-care. You can’t expect to get in touch with your feelings and refresh yourself if you don’t take enough time for yourself.
  • Even a 20-minute break can make all the difference in the world when you’re feeling stressed and overworked.
  1. Establish firm boundaries. Understand that work never stops. Decide to stop for the day and leave it alone until later. There’s a thin line between being a great inspirational teacher and a stressed out person who happens to work with kids.

Remember: successful educators don’t just show up for work and do their best. They ensure that they have time to do things that are important to them. They make a healthy, balanced life outside of work.

Plan smart breaks to stay on top of things and be more effective as a teacher. You’ll be glad you did!

Vondre' T. Whaley is a veteran educator, who currently serves as a principal of a great high school. He is also founder and Chief Visionary of the Department Leaders Network.

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