You don’t have to hate your job, or dislike the people around you or where you live; you just have to be done. Exhausted. Drained. Where the thought of being social, or cooking dinner or doing anything than what you absolutely have to wears you down. That’s burnout. It can be from a number of reasons, but is essentially when you stretch yourself so thin that you begin to struggle with even the little things. For teachers, this is such a common word because the stress and workload (not even considering personal lives or health) can be so gruelling sometimes.
I’m only a few years into the profession and am still within the first five years, the benchmark by which a BIG percentage of teachers say cya to the demands of the job in Australia. However, I’m currently at my 7th school, in my 3rd teaching system and have taught in government, academy, private, religious, single-sex and co-ed schools. Even if I’ve avoided the hard yards, I’ve seen its toll on many teachers, regardless of experience. So slowly I’ve built up my own ways to avoid burnout. They require a bit of work and set up, and it doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally need a break. Yes, I understand the irony of having to work at avoiding burnout, but here goes on some of the ways I avoid burnout:
- Split your work and personal spaces
When you’re new or there’s some big marking deadlines, this rule can have a little breather. But my biggest rule I’ve had since moving to Melbourne is NO work at home. In the age of constant emails and marking and deadlines this sounds crazy. But ever since I started following this, I’ve gotten my work done quickly at my desk, I’ve been forced to be more organised and I’ve enjoyed less stress as I go home. Even if you can’t commit to this, never do work on your bed. Choose a space at home that is work-free. This will train your body to know when it can relax.
- Be accountable for some exercise
Yay endorphins! Amirite? Yes, I know, I’m no athletic hero, but I play netball every week and regularly go for walks/runs which I’m accountable to my housemate for. Doing it with a team or another person means I’ll get it done regardless of what’s on my plate. Trust me, I’ve used every excuse under the sun to avoid exercise, but the benefits after the 30ish minutes of torture do usually help with energy, your mood and occasionally your body.
- Treat yo’self
Whether it’s date night, friend’s night or family night; plan at least one thing a week that’s off the couch. Even if it’s on somebody else’s couch. If you’re struggling with energy and are feeling a tad flaky, opt for a drink at a friend’s/your backyard or a movie which requires very little talking if you choose. Just do something for you even when you don’t feel like it. After I do, I feel like I’ve accomplished something and even sometimes feel like I have more energy.
- Candles, music and meditation
Who doesn’t love a good candle? I’m all for laying down, listening to my perfectly curated Spotify playlist and thinking about life, love, why the sky is blue, etc. Every time your mind veers to work, just steer it away again. Apps like ‘Calm’ are great if you want to get into proper meditation. Or go it alone with some Spotify and chill.
- Read a book
You mean you can read things not on a screen? Reading a book requires your complete concentration. You can’t have half your attention on a conversation or your phone. You need to properly immerse yourself. Even if it’s for ten minutes before bed. Read something that isn’t on your phone.
- Tell somebody who cares
Whether this is your partner, best friend, psychologist, mother or framed picture of Chris Hemsworth; make sure you know who you can talk to when you feel like things are getting harder than they used to be. Asking for help is one of the hardest things you can do but having someone who listens and maybe helps you come up with a plan is also one of the best feelings in the world. Make sure they know that too. Those people are awesome.
Have any tips that I’ve left off? Let me know!
Want some more of my unqualified tips? Click HERE!