How to Avoid Letting Anxiety Get the Best of You!
It’s August, teachers. These three words summon fear of future school days ahead for many educators. Dreams of teaching duties interrupt summer slumber. For countless rational (and irrational) reasons, this third month of summer rings a familiar bell that often rolls out the red carpet for August anxiety. Ugh. Sigh. Panic and despair. Educators are becoming well-trained to identify and intervene with student anxiety, but unfortunately anxiety targets teachers, too.
Let’s take a breath together and consider these questions: How does anxiety meet and greet you every August? What can you do to avoid August anxiety?
Your first answer likely includes a few of the symptoms of anxiety according to MayoClinic.org:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
I don’t know anyone who would want to suffer, survive, or tolerate any of these human conditions. Can we agree that each one is worth some focused self-care and intentional prevention?
Besides seeking professional help (which is a smart move when facing physical symptoms) what can we do to manage stressors that lead to August anxiety? I collected some anxiety-busters from education and mental health experts - here are some tips to try:
- Breathe better - intentional deep breaths
- Buddy up - connect with someone; be social on purpose
- Ice water - douse your face and hands
- Exercise - keep a move on
- Nature breaks - visit Mother Earth often
- Sleep priority - include nice little naps
- Social media break - hours or days, start small
- Focus on surroundings - count colors, numbers, or items in a space
- Laugh out loud - look for humor and fun everywhere
- Seek positive people - light-hearted, uplifting influencers
- Use lists only as working documents - think formative self-assessment
It’s always best to seek help for professional stress, but with a few new ideas in your brain, it’s possible to keep anxiety at bay and finish summer strong and sane! (For more details, see resources.) Here’s to a stress-less August - you got this!
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