• Beth Ott

3 Ways to Stop Teacher Anxiety in it's Tracks

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

If you are a teacher, you are most likely no stranger to the anxiety that comes along with it. We all know the dread that comes along when the Sunday Scaries hit us. It might look a little something like this…

[scene] Sunday afternoon, watching a football game.

[you] Ok, this next week I’ve got to remember...what am I going to do about...oh no, I have to...XX was intolerable last week...I’m already behind on my progress reports...when am I going to do this...or this...or that…

[you...panic breathing, heart racing, anxiety slowly creeping up] I’ve got to go in super early. I should probably just do work now. I probably should have done work yesterday. I need to stay late all week. I need to stay late all month. I should just sleep over at school.

[scene] Sunday evening, laying in bed with an anxiety attack.

[end scene]

Tell me. Has this ever happened to you? No shame in that game. It used to be me for about 5 straight years. The problem was it didn’t end Sunday night. I panicked all Monday morning, crying in the shower, and had severe anxiety while driving to work.

And for a long time, I thought that’s just how it was. I thought I had to live with it, like it was part of the job of being a teacher. Literally everyone I talked to had it, so we all just commiserated. But before too long my health began to be affected, and I knew I had to make some changes. Long story short (that’s a blog for another day), I FINALLY found what worked for me, and I’m passing it along in hopes that it can work for you too.

What to do when you feel a teacher anxiety attack start to come on:

1. Breathe.

Ideally, big slow breaths in and out. Try counting to 4 on the inhale, and 4 or longer on the exhale. There are a lot of sciency things happening in the background here that make taking a breath so beneficial.

2. Find a Mantra.

Once you find a good breath ratio, you can turn your attention to a phrase or saying that will help recenter yourself. Finding something affirming that connects to your exact anxiety is helpful, but it can be general as well. A few I like ‘My work will be there when I am ready’. ‘I am a human who teaches’. ‘My kids will be fine’.

3. Move.

This breaks our freeze physicality that can often come with anxiety. Moving can be something as simple as doing a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, folding clothes, or walking to the mailbox. It can take 5 minutes or 25 minutes, whatever you need.

I created this handy cheat sheet that you can print out and fold up in your purse or car...or wherever you find yourself having your teacher anxiety attacks. Click the image to download your own copy.

I promise you, the anxiety does not have to be normalized. It does not have to be a part of the job. I found something that works for me, let me know if it works for you too.

Need to reexamine other areas of your teaching, but maybe you're not sure where to start? I got you!

Download my free toolkit and see where your teaching practices stand.

Do you need to learn to let things go? Or maybe organization is more your area of concern...

Why not see for yourself?

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