Burnouts can have an impact on your physical, mental, and environmental health. Burnout is something we always talk about and hear about, but it is not something that we all take seriously. As a brand new educator, I am here today to be an advocate for all of us (educators, students, parents, etc.) to take breaks as often as we work and to follow the saying 'work hard, rest harder'.
Here are my top ten ways to avoid burnout at any time of the year.
1. Take breaks
Breaks are necessary. I used to hate taking breaks for the fear that I would miss out on something or fall behind in my work. The reality of this is that if you fail to take rest days and breaks during the day, your health is going to suffer and in the big picture, this alone will cause you to fall more behind than you would have, had you just taken a break.
2. Say 'no'
This sounds so simple, but I know firsthand that this is so hard. I am one who acts like a giving tree. I give and give and give and when I feel like I can't give anymore, I give just a little bit more. It's who I am. However, there comes a point when you wear yourself so thin that you literally have nothing left to give but attitude, fatigue, and negativity. To avoid becoming this person and potential burnout from being a good human being, learn to say no. Say no to chaperoning the school dance, say no to your side gig, say no (for a day) to homework. There are so many times throughout the day that we can say 'no' but choose not to. For me, it was for fear of letting someone down. In the end, I was the only person that I let down.
3. Self (and I cannot stress this enough) care
Self care is a concept that I didn't understand until this year. I thought that self care was something that had to be reserved for a certain time of the time, certain day of the week, or even a certain time of month (if you get what I mean). I didn't recognize that self care is something that needs to happen every day. Eating healthy, going to the gym, sleeping in, and meditating are just a few, simple ways to ensure you are taking care of who matters the most- YOU.
4. Develop and practice healthy coping mechanisms
This is a huge deal, especially for those in the workforce. Healthy coping mechanisms to avoid burnout include meditation, yoga, healthy sleeping habits, and other activities that aide in slowing your heart rate, breath, and thinking. It is important to practice healthy coping mechanisms when you have a job shaping young minds it is important that you pose as a positive role model in every aspect to these young children (or older children).
5. Talk it out
We are always teaching students to express how they feel and to talk about their emotions, feelings, and other stressors in life. We cannot preach what we don't practice. It is impossible for educators to preach about healthy coping mechanisms, etc. when we are not practicing these health coping mechanisms. Whether you confide in a fellow staff member, a mentor, your mom, or even your cat, it is critical that you confide in and talk out your stresses with someone at least weekly in an attempt to avoid the grenade effect.