This is a terribly stressful year. It appears to be district wide, in our district. I am assuming it is bigger than just around here. How do you, the educators, destress and find ways to relax so you don't burn out each week? (I'm not even going to project this solution to the end of the year! We need the answer to this question immediately.)
I always enjoy a good movie. For approximately 2 hours, I'm transported into another world of mystery, intrique, romance, fantasy, etc. It's a great way to destress and temporarily forget my own real-world problems. I prefer going to the theatre, but even watching a rented movie at home or one featured on TV is relaxing.
We have been kicking this around a lot this year as we have a new supt. and a new principal in our small school. Big changes! The other day a teacher said, "I'm going back to what I have been doing for years, and that is teaching the students. The changes will have to wait." I took that advice and things seem to be going more smoothly now. Good luck.
I think we should try to find a block of time that is completely free from all things educational. From Sept to June teachers always have something that needs to be prepped, graded, recorded or written. It's non-stop. Squeezing in a few hours doing anything BUT thinking about or working on school issues is critical to avoid burn out.
I'm currently finishing my credential/M.Ed./working daily and can completely relate to the OP. Physical activity-running, swimming, weight training, hiking, biking, a sport-is always the best medication for me when dealing w/ a long and arduous day. Completely clears the mind and increases your motivational/energy levels. It's pretty similar to pluggin your phone into the charger and refreshin the battery.
I would say, make sure you're using your time wisely and operating on a schedule. Designate a time that you won't work past. That time is up to you. What I've found about a lot of teachers is that they're overworked, and understandably so. There's a lot (too much) expected of educators and we have to learn to manage our time wisely. I've come across too many teachers who are stressed to the max and all they do to make things better is stay at school til 9pm everyday and then go in on the weekends. Working harder isn't going to help you destress, work is never done, and if you've been in schools long at all, you know this. You have to savor your personal time. Relax with some friends, spend time with your family, do something fun. Work will always be stressful (and it will always be there the next day), you're a teacher, but as long as you set aside time to unwind and don't let being a teacher consume you, you probably won't burn out so soon.
I know this might not be the popular answer, but I hope it helps.
This is one area in which I am NOT proficient. I really need to work on this "destressing" thing. One problem I have is I teach and I am an artist too. I am always busy. One good thing is that I love work, so having a lot to do is good (most of the time). However, I still need to teach myself to slow down.
Chop wood, play the guitar loud, go to the lake with my family, or watch Brian Reagan videos on youtube seems to help, but if anyone has the perfect answer let us know. Our district offered a yoga coarse on night. So I signed up and my wife, myself and 20 some others were there. She was saying breathe, relax, breathe, relax. We were on our backs on the floor. I fell asleep. When I woke everyone was in a stretching position. Dang that make me a guru.
After teaching/working 8-10 hour days, I destress by taking a nap. I try to keep it brief. However, if I make the mistake of covering up with a warm blanket, 30 minutes could easily turn into 2 hours!
Also, I find time to take nature photographs that I can couple with personal poems and share them with my students.
I make lists each morning and work to achieve the lists. At the end of the day when I need to unwind, I pick up a good book and escape to a world where these stresses do not exist. If time is limited, there are always short stories or magazine articles that are a simple escape. For me taking a few minutes away allows me to be more productive later.
I do just the opposite:
I make lists each night so I can get a good nights sleep and not forget something important the next day.
When I wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, in the quiet of the night yet, I pick up a good book and enjoy the story line.
You hit it right in your final sentence, taking a few minutes for yourself, allows one to be productive later.
I too, make lists in the morning when I'm fresh and rested (although, Jane, I may have to give your tactic a try one of these days!)
Here's another idea: I heard an NPR segment that suggested that several small breaks throughout the day — like a 5-minute walk around the block — did a better job of reducing stress than, say, a big break at the end of the day.
I (doubtfully) decided to give it a try, and really found that it worked for me. To my surprise, just a few minutes' perspective and rest diffused tension and weariness very well. I would walk from point A to point B and back, or take a moment alone to eat an apple, take in the view from a window, or occasionally find someplace to do a stretch or two.
I know finding a free minute can be very tough during a school day, but I encourage you to give these two-minute breaks a try if you can!