So why teachers, why a presentation for teachers, why the topic of reduce stress for teachers. Well first of all I work with quite a few of them and I can tell you, as they would, many of them are often stressed out. Given that I often talk about ways to reduce stress through detoxing, I thought I’d put together a specific post and presentation for teachers in particular.
Teachers have a number of students to deal with, let’s say about 25-30 students, many of those students have at least one parent, sometimes two. So that’s anywhere from 60-120 ‘people’ to deal with in one classroom. Then there’s the principal, the curriculum, your own family and whatever else is going on in your life.
Now I’m not saying parents are always stressful, and I’m not saying a principal is either, what I am saying is, most of us deal with one boss, or maybe a manager and a couple co-workers. It seems to me in some cases teachers tend to be more stressed out because they have more things going on, more children and parents and staff to deal with.
But don’t get me wrong here, I’m not letting teachers off the hook. We’re all stressed out at times and we can all do things to lower our stress levels and teachers are as guilty as everyone else for not doing some things we’ll go over in this post (and presentation) that will help reduce stress levels.
This post will be broken up into two separate segments. The first segment will be what factors are contributing to the stress levels of teachers, and I’ll also talk about the dangers of having high stress levels. And the second segment will be how to reduce stress for teachers in a number of different ways.
Contributing Factors to Stress
Level #1 – Processed Food
The first topic we’re going to talk about is Food. I believe food heals, food prevents and food cures, and in this case food can either raise our stress levels or lower them. So here’s the issue, there’s a lot of people out there who think they are eating food which isn’t food at all. Highly processed, packaged food is hard for our body to recognize, utilize and absorb which means in most cases we’re storing that food as fat instead of burning it off as energy. Not only that but when we put hard to digest ‘foods’ in our body, we put a lot of stress on our digestive system which not only raises our stress levels but drains our energy as well.
There are tons of toxins, coloring, preservatives, and other additives detrimental to our health like MSG and GMO’s. The list goes on, and the regulations for what can be put in our food, or what they call food leaves much to be desired.
The more toxins we put in our body the more our stress level will rise which means we’ll have a very difficult time reducing stress or living a stress free lifestyle with all these toxins being consumed.
Level #2 – Our Skin and Cosmetics
Our skin is our biggest organ which means we absorb substances through our skin, at times as easily as when we consume substances. This means it’s just as important to pay attention to what we’re putting on our skin as what we’re putting in our mouth.
I’m talking about everything from toothpaste to deodorant; we have hairspray full of toxins getting on our skin and being absorbed through our body, and a large number of other toxins, preservatives and fillers to keep products shelf stable and never expiring much like the grocery store.
Absorbing toxins through our skin isn’t much different than through consumption. These toxic substances put stress on our bodies and makes it hard for us to function at an optimal level being our mind and even our physical performance.
Level #3 – Our Environment
This is a topic many of us don’t think about especially when it comes to teachers because, given that many of the teachers I know have been teaching in the same school for a very long time, they don’t even notice their environment anymore, it’s simply normal to them.
We need to understand our environment creates who we are. The way we talk, the way we think, the words we use, who we hang around with and more. It doesn’t take much to see how much our environment affects us. Have a look at ‘trouble makers’ lets call them (you teachers know what I’m talking). Those that tend to get in trouble seem to gather together, but look at the other side of the coin. Is it that they’re causing trouble alone or cause more trouble when they’re together?
Let’s take that one step further, do criminals have a secret society where they meet in the dark late at night, no of course not. Certain people seem to gravitate towards one another and also influence one another on a higher level. Phycologists would call this a mob mentality, now just because this originated with herds of animals, I’m certainly not interested in insulting anyone.
See naturally we want to stick with the pack, we want to fit in, we want to be like our friends which has a lot to do with environments in other parts of the world. You can see this in accents in different areas of the country, you see this with the clothes people wear and different words they use given where you live or grew up.
Bonus: Report Cards!
Here’s a good example that most teachers can resonate with (I don’t mean agree, just understand, in fact I’d imagine many of you would disagree with this until you understand the significance of environment which I’m trying to explain).
If you’ve been around a teacher near report card season you may notice they are stressed out to the max! Now why is this, teachers have report cards at certain times of the year, they know this, we know this, most of them have been writing report cards for many years, but still, every single time report cards come around, teachers are stressed out.
There are two reasons for this. First all, it’s a habit formed or developed. As much as we’d like to think we’ve evolved in a much different manner than dogs, Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning experiment has a lot to do with human beings as well. I can prove this to you in a week.
This will work more for those teachers that don’t eat breakfast first thing in the morning (10am isn’t first thing in the morning mind you). If you start eating breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up, around day 4 or 5 (now understand everyone is different), you’ll start to get hungry in the morning if you skip that breakfast or try waiting for an extra 30 minutes. If you don’t believe me try it, and see how accurate I am.
So getting back to teachers and being stressed out around report card time, we developed this habit of becoming stressed out during report card time because we’ve been doing it for so long (developed) and because everyone else thinks they need to be stressed out too (environment). Could you imagine how difficult it is to be excited and happy when everyone else is grumpy? How about healthy and full of energy, do you think you could be bouncing off the walls if 40 other people in your immediate environment dragged themselves around and complained about how much little energy they have? If you do, how long do you think that would last?
The Dangers of Stress
So we just went over how our body become stressed out, before we go over how to actually reduce stress for teachers I want to talk about the dangers of stress to show you how important it is to start taking small steps to make a change.
I’m sure we can tell when we’re stressed out, our mind isn’t clear, which is the very bottom of the spectrum. Without a clear mind we have fogginess, then comes headaches, then weight gain along with self-confidence out the window.
We could then look to allergies, congestion and pain which is better known as inflammation in your muscles, joints and bones.
Moving on up, we then look to sleep issues, because who can sleep with a headache, congested nasals and pain throughout our body and these aren’t even our more serious conditions. Side note: I put sleep higher up on the ‘danger scale’ because I truly believe our entire quality of life is lowered without proper sleep.
Now we get into more serious danger issues which are quite frankly, scary. What I call mood is next on the list. Could you imagine snapping at every child you teach, every co-worked, being frustrated and angry all the time. I don’t know about you but being in constant pain, frustrated and angry all the time is certainly a dangerous way to life to me.
Which leads to my next point of high blood pressure, which again is caused by all this anger and mood disorders, caused by pain, allergies and lack of sleep, so as you can tell, this is all a long connected chain of stress on your health.
Then finally what I’m leading up to in the real dangers of being stressed out, your high blood pressure turning into a heart attack or stroke.
Trust me when I say everything is connected. Doesn’t this all make sense to you? The problem is we don’t connect the dots. We don’t see how food can contribute to our mood which is why we hit the drive through for lunch. It’s why we grab a donut in the staff room and don’t think twice.
We don’t understand how detrimental a negative environment is to our health. How toxic gossip, negative Nancy and someone unloading their day’s frustrations can weight on our shoulders and affect our overall well-being. That’s okay though, that’s why you’re reading this, that’s why the road you’ve taken has lead you down this path.
It’s time to make a change, it’s time to make some sustainable adjustments in your life to improve your quality of life. And I’m going to show you exactly how.
How to Reduce Stress for Teachers
So here we are, this is what you tuned in for, this is the information you’re looking for. It was important for me to explain how we got here so we know how to prevent and then treat. It’s always important to look to prevent first, if not, all we’re doing is placing band aids on top of our wound. So let’s start with food.
I believe food controls many things in our lives from our mental state to our physical. As you heard earlier I also believe food heals, food prevents and food cures which is why we’re starting off with such an important subject.
It’s time we start reading labels and understand what everything is we’re putting in our body. We already went over how many toxic substances there is in packaged food. We’ve already talked about how food affects our mind and body which is why we’re going to start putting quality food in our system to reduce stress and give us that sustainable energy we’re all looking for.
I always say look to local first especially when it comes to food. Look to farmers markets, local manufacturers, look for the companies that care about you, the consumer and actually care about the product they are putting on the market. Yes this will take more time, it will take more time than going through the drive through, it will take more time that grabbing whatever is on sale, it’ll take more time at least until you have a better understanding of what companies and brands to look for and where to find the ingredients list rather than the ‘nutritional value’.
But if you ask me you’re worth, you’re worth the time it takes to reduce the stress put on your body by staying away from low quality food, companies that don’t care about you and the substances they put in their products.
And lastly concerning food or consumption rather, I want to cover hydration because I don’t feel we entirely understand the importance of hydration. A large number of us walk around mildly hydrated. This actually stresses our body out by not giving it the proper means to flush out toxins. Our body is mostly made up of water so without replenishing, we struggle to have a clear mind, avoid headaches and reduce the functionality of our internal organs.
Many teachers hit the staff room for their coffee break or at lunch time. We should know that coffee is a duretic which means coffee is actually taking water away from us, water that our body desperately needs. So if you’re drinking coffee you need to at least double the amount of water you’re drinking and that’s only comparing water to coffee. So if you haven’t drank any water, and have consumed 3 cups of coffee you should be drinking 6 cups of water just to be neutral, then water to hydrate and flush toxins.
Men should work toward 3-4 liters of water per day and women should work towards 2-3 liters per day. I know most people would be taken back by this amount of water, so when someone asks me how much water they should be drinking I ask them how much they are drinking right now. If they say 3 cups of water a day, I tell them to drink 4; if they say 6 I tell them to drink 8. So if you’re not at the hydration level you should be at, slowly increase your water intake until you’re where you want to be.
And the last thing I want to say about water is to make sure it’s filtered; drink filtered water, filtered ice cubes and avoid tap or fountain water you find from the schools fountains.
So in level 2 we went over our skin and cosmetics, which means we have a brief understanding of the toxins put in cosmetics. These cosmetics whether it be creams, lotions or sprays filled with toxins are then polluting our body through our skin which is detrimental to our health.
It’s time we make a change, now I don’t want you to get rid of everything in that little cabinet behind the mirror, or dump everything in the garbage under the sink. First of all I want you to start reading the ingredients labels on cosmetics just like we do for food. We shouldn’t put anything on our body that we wouldn’t consume because our body eventually absorbs it anyways. So have a look at these four ingredients and then check out your bottles at home to see how many these have in it:
- Mineral oil
- Aluminum chloride
Remember not to get rid of everything at once. We want to make sustainable changes here, so make sure you’re paying attention to what brand has what ingredient you want to stay away. That’s a good step so you know not to buy it next time you need it.
You can also take small steps like getting rid of one bottle that has toxins in it at a time. Which means, maybe once a week you toss out something that causes health issues, it could be once every two weeks or once a month.
And the other method I’d like to share with you is, don’t toss anything out at all, just replace with something ‘cleaner’ or healthier next time.
This one goes without saying but if we really want to reduce stress for teachers it’s important to exercise, get those feel good endorphins going and feel more comfortable in our own body.
You know what gets me is, the times that we’re most stressed out, like report card time, or holiday time or whatever event it is, we exercise less knowing full well exercise acts as a stress reducer.
Now stress works a little different, usually I’d say prevention is always the best way to go but in this case especially regarding stress it’s important to ‘treat’ if you will, as soon as possible. So if you’re stressed out the best thing you can do to release your stress valve is something like exercise.
The biggest issue around being stressed out is, we don’t think there’s time for things that help us reduce stress. I try to help others understand that if we take action towards ‘exercises’ that help us reduce stress we’ll actually have more time. We’ll be able to think more clearly, function at a better level physically, be able to do regular tasks more efficiently and feel better all around.
Which means we’re not dragging ourselves around without any energy, we’re not wasting time complaining about what has to be done or how little time we have; we’re energized feel better about ourselves and are able to be more efficient with everything we do.
Now you don’t have to hit the gym or a cardio machine to ‘exercise to reduce stress’. There are plenty of other ways that include:
- A brisk walk
- A bike ride
- Fitness class
Whatever it is, understand exercise can be fun, it can be enjoyable and should be and it can even be simple. Playing with your dog in the park or taking a walk together (with someone you love) will ease your mind and reduce stress on your body.
Other Ways to Reduce Stress
Meditation clears and quiets your mind and helps silence the noise and stress from your day in the classroom.
Is a great way to release build up frustrations from whatever stress has built up throughout the day.
The purpose of getting away is to rejuvenate yourself and relax your mind and body. You will come back feeling refreshed and energized with a brand new perspective.
I understand that was a lot of information to go over in one sitting. Hopefully you’ll take some notes, ones that resonate with you the most and take small steps and work toward sustainable changes.
The very first step is to understand how detrimental stress is in our life, through both mind and body. The next step is to take action toward one thing at a time. It’s very difficult to jump in with two feet, and try to make all these changes at once.
Understand how significant food is and how much low quality food increases our stress level; remember what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body, so read cosmetic labels just as often as your read food labels. And finally pay attention to your environment, just because it’s #3 doesn’t mean it’s any less significant than the toxins we’re putting in and on our body. Our environment plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing so surround yourself with likeminded positive people and feel that stress melt away.
If you’re looking for more way to help reduce your stress that go into more detail have a look at best selling Detoxify Yourself.