Back to school is exciting, but let's face it, it can also be stressful. A new study from the University of Missouri found that 93 percent of elementary school teachers reported experiencing high levels of stress.
But we can help! Isaac Johnston, MD, a family medicine physician at Olathe Health Family Medicine - Blackfoot, has six stress-busting tips to get you through the school year. Dr. Johnston sees patients of all ages in the clinic and hospital, and delivers babies.
1. Make Friends
Teaching can be a challenging profession so lean on your coworkers. Make friends with your new fellow teachers and administration, and use them as a support network.
2. Manage Stress with a Healthy Diet
The secret to a healthy diet is meal planning. Stay away from riding the "sugar rollercoaster" throughout the day and keep caffeine at reasonable consumption levels. The best way to avoid the afternoon lull is to keep lunches moderate in size and free of sugar.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is beneficial to essentially every part of health - especially managing stress. I recommend at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week. If this seems overwhelming, that's okay! Never underestimate the power of daily walks in the evening.
Nowadays, I see so many patients (including your students) who are not getting enough sleep. Adults still need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Skipping out on needed sleep will turn into less energy, less exercise, poor eating choices and snowball into an unhealthy lifestyle. You will not regret making time for those Zzz’s!
5. Use De-Stressers
If you have a planning periods and need to de-stress, play calming classical music. This can also be done with students in the room during homework time. More evidence is coming out about the power of essential oils, as well. Lavender and chamomile have been shown to help treat anxiety and stress.
6. Watch for Red Flags
Nearly 10 percent of people will have a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder or major depression at some point in their lives. Red flags that stress may be more than just typical stress include:
- Consistent trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Trouble functioning at work
- Not enjoying hobbies/interests that you once did
If you notice these red flags, seek help. The sooner these are treated, the better the response. To contact a family medicine physician, visit our family medicine page, or call 913-782-2224.