Tips for Managing Peaks and Valleys

Part 2 of Series: Self-Care for Educators

2020 has certainly brought both personal and professional challenges for educators. There are the typical stressors that often occur with the ‘peaks and valleys’ of our jobs, and then there’s the 2020 survival level of stress that feels like climbing Mt. Everest in the middle of a snowstorm without supplies and clutching to the side of the mountain… too much?

In any case, no matter if you love your job or not, every job comes with stress. There’s more stressful times (peaks/high workload) and less stressful times (valleys/low workload). When we’re experiencing those ‘peaks’ at work, we’re also likely experiencing increased amounts of stress. Chronic long-term stress is detrimental to our physical and emotional health, including high blood pressure, insomnia, and weakened immune systems (yikes!).

So let’s talk about the best ways to manage the inevitable ebbs and flows, or ‘peaks and valleys’ of our professional lives:
  1. Organization – Ask yourself: Will dedicating a weekend to getting yourself organized set you up for success for the rest of the school year? (Hint: the answer is yes!). Make it a priority to get yourself organized. Use a system that works for you; whether it’s color-coding, a fancy planner, or a clean desk. Click here for more classroom organization tips.
  1. Manage your time – Parent conferences coming up? Report cards due? Those are two busy and time-consuming events you can plan ahead for in your schedule. Get into the habit of doing any of your ‘normal work’ (i.e., lesson planning, IEPs, etc…) ahead of time. This habit of planning ahead will set you up for success when those busy work ‘peaks’ hit. 
  1. Prioritize your to-do list – We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: Make lists! Try setting aside 5-10 minutes each morning to set your priorities for the day. Separate your daily tasks into “must-dos” and “can dos”. 
  1. Keep a journal to track stressors – When do you notice yourself feeling most stressed? Are these stressors avoidable? Can they be better managed in the future? As educators, we are taught to understand and manage our students’ behavior– let’s apply some of those “ABC” behavior-modification strategies to ourselves. Make note of any patterns to grow more self-aware of specific stressors. Apply strategies 1-3 to help manage them when they arise. 
  1. Develop healthy coping strategies – Set aside ‘you-time’. Whether that’s in the form of exercise, favorite hobbies, family and friend time, sleep, or all of the above– taking care of yourself is crucial! Check out our blog post from last month, ‘Self-Care for Educators’, for more tips and resources.

Here are the facts: High levels of stress not only impacts our physical and emotional wellbeing but leads to poor job satisfaction and burnout. As educators, we need to set expectations for ourselves to better manage our professional peaks and valleys. Finding that balance will not only lead to a better you, but your students will have better outcomes too. 

Did you know Everyday Speech has thousands of materials with lessons covering Self-Management topics such as Choosing Calm, Managing Stressors, and Maintaining Self-Control? Join 14,000+ other educators who are using our platform today!


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