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Avoid Burnout – Two Critical Back to School Self-Care Tips

August 26, 2010

Staying calm in the face of the busy season can be a real trick. The beginning of the school year can be insanely busy with meetings and planning and getting the room all set up for the coming students.

First, organization will save you.Take a little time to organize yourself.  Make lists so you don’t have to worry about forgetting things.  Keep the list with you. (If you have a cell phone with voice capability, then you’re really rolling.  If not, a good old-fashioned notepad will do just fine.)

Think about ways you can streamline the way you run your classroom so that you are not creating more work for yourself.  For example, doing regular parent communication can save you a lot of time.  When parents receive a regular weekly email from you, for example about what to expect in the coming school week, you save yourself a ton of time having to answer questions later on.  Send the email out on the same day each week, so parents know when to watch for it, and set aside a regular time each day to respond to parent emails so you are not seen as not caring about parent involvement.  This will save you loads and loads of headaches later on.

Second, and perhaps most important, take a little time to breathe.

When you find yourself running at an insane pace, invigorating though that might be, remember, that’s your adrenalin kicking in.  You really do want to save that adrenalin rush for emergency situations.

Try this.   When you notice your heart is beating faster, and you are going 100 mph, remind yourself to slow down.  You can pull this off if you start practicing right now.

Here’s how I do it.  You may have another way that works for you.

1. visualize a peaceful place

2. pay attention to breathing

3. will your pulse to slow down

4. feel a sense of calm within yourself

Now approach your tasks. When you find yourself ramping up again, go back to that visualization.  You will the ability to relax will come easier and easier the more you practice.  You will be able to pull it off without anyone even noticing you are taking a moment to breathe.

Remember to take care of yourself this school year.  Nobody can do that but you.

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