Avoiding Burnout: Anxiety Assessment
One of the people I began my teaching career with began to have severe, debilitating and bizarre anxiety attacks about five years into her career. It had been a stressful career to begin with – we were part of a large group of people hired to replace others our first year, and the staff went on strike our second year. I moved on after that, but she stayed, and I can’t imagine what else must have gone on in that setting. When I caught up with her, she was in a mental health facility, under strict supervision, and I could only bring her things that she could not possibly harm herself with. She did progress out of the facility, by the way, but I’m not certain she was successful at handling her anxieties. She unfortunately went on to have a whole host of health and mental health issues later in life.
Anxiety is a very real concern for educators. We work in one of the highest stress environments out there – right up there with nurses and police officers among others. I think it’s simply the nature of working with large numbers of people. How do you handle anxiety?
First of all, step back and assess your anxiety levels. Some people are comfortable simply being reflective of their state of being. Others like a more focused approach. Axis-One provides a free online anxiety assessment. There are others out there, but I like this one because it is ‘quick and dirty.’ (No comments from the peanut gallery, thank you.)
Start with that. Where are your anxiety levels?