Mental Health Awareness Week is running this year between Monday 15th May and Sunday 21st May and is an annual event where the UK comes together to recognise the importance of achieving and maintaining good mental health for everyone.
Each year the event focuses on a particular mental health topic, and the theme this year is ‘anxiety’.
The number of people suffering from anxiety has risen across the country, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. It is now one of the most common mental health problems we face as a nation.
At Athona Education, we understand how working in education can be stressful, and the recent strikes have shown how undervalued teachers feel, in addition to the cost of living crisis, some teachers have been taking unpaid days to strike, adding to their anxiety.
Anxiety is not a weakness, it is a real, normal emotion, and can be brought on by stress, financial worries and relationships to name just a few and it can often feel overwhelming.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, there are some simple strategies you can put in place to try and make sure your mental health is under control and easier to manage.
Worrying about the future, and the hundreds of ‘what if’ scenarios we create in our heads is often a source of anxiety.
Mindfulness can be used to help keep you feeling grounded once anxiety has taken control. Simple things like slowing down your breathing and using your senses to focus can help you regain control.
This is something that you can do anywhere, even in the classroom – your students can use these techniques if they are feeling overwhelmed while you create a calmer learning environment.
To learn about grounding techniques click here.
Teachers spend so much time focussed on helping others it is often at the expense of caring for themselves. Teaching does not end with the end of the school day and with the pressures of planning and marking it can be hard to switch off.
Take time to relax and eat well. Switch off devices and try and do some exercise – this releases endorphins making you feel instantly better.
When you experience anxiety it can quite often be something we keep to ourselves, but by communicating with friends, families or colleagues, you might also find that other people are also experiencing the same thing – never be afraid or embarrassed to reach out to others. You can discuss and swap coping strategies while getting things off your chest, never feel you need to suffer in silence.
Being disorganised and feeling unprepared can at times trigger anxiety. The more planning you can do ahead of time will result in a calmer working day. Knowing what you need at the start of the day and for each lesson will help, creating a to-do list can also help you focus.
There will always be times when things don’t go according to plan so it is also a good idea to have some resources easily available in case things have to change at the last minute, so you don’t need to. To view some free, easy to use resources you can use in the classroom, click here.
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week and to see how you can get involved, click here.
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Call our friendly team today on 01277 245840 or click here to get in touch.