Healthy habits for ensuring wellness for teachers

When we talk about wellness for teachers, what do we mean?

Essentially, it refers to teachers' overall physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. This includes managing stress, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and caring for oneself physically and mentally.

Teacher wellness is a critical issue that often falls through the cracks in the education sector. Regrettably, as time passes, more teachers report work-related stress. In 2022, over 88% experienced job stress, a significant leap from a 2021 Wix study that showed a 72% stress rate. The bottom line is that teacher well-being is essential for fostering a positive and thriving learning environment.

Here's why:

Teachers are the lifeblood of any education system and are key to shaping our society's future. However, teaching can be a pressure cooker of a profession. Long hours, demanding duties, and challenging students can pave the way to burnout, stress, and other physical and mental health concerns.

In this article, Workee experts will highlight the importance of teacher wellness, offer insights into analyzing teacher well-being, and suggest engaging activities to promote teacher wellness.

Why is teacher wellness important?

When teachers prioritize their well-being, the following outcomes become possible:

1. It helps their students to improve

When teachers prioritize their well-being, they are better equipped to handle the job's demands. Teaching is a challenging profession, and it can be emotionally and physically draining. Instructors who care for themselves can better manage stress, avoid burnout, and stay motivated.

Teachers can also model healthy behaviors for their students by taking care of themselves. They can demonstrate the importance of self-care, stress management, and work-life balance. This can be especially powerful for pupils struggling with their mental health and well-being.

Additionally, when teachers are well-rested, well-nourished, and mentally balanced, they are more effective in their service delivery. They have more energy and focus on planning engaging lessons, providing individualized student support, and managing classroom behaviors. They can also more easily connect with students and build positive relationships, which is critical for academic success.

2. It reduces burnout

Teaching is a demanding profession, and teachers often experience high levels of stress and burnout. Prioritizing tutors' wellness can help to reduce burnout and promote job satisfaction. A study published in the Journal of Education found that tea wellness was negatively correlated with burnout and that teachers who reported higher levels of wellness were less likely to experience burnout.

3. It enhances retention

There are several ways that teacher wellness can enhance retention. Firstly, when teachers are healthy, they are less likely to take sick days or need extended leave periods due to burnout or other health issues. This means that schools can rely on their tutors to be present and engaged in the classroom, which is important for maintaining continuity and consistency in students' education.

Secondly, when teachers are happy and fulfilled in their work, they are likelier to stay in their positions for longer. This is because job satisfaction is a key factor in job retention, and when they feel that their work is meaningful and rewarding, they are more likely to stay committed to it.

Moreover, when schools prioritize teacher wellness, they value their educators as individuals and professionals. This can lead to greater loyalty and a sense of belonging among teachers, enhancing retention.

4. It promotes a positive school culture

When teachers prioritize their wellness, they serve as positive role models for their students and colleagues. They can also contribute to a positive school culture by promoting healthy habits and encouraging others to prioritize their wellness. Recent educational research found that wellness was positively correlated with positive school culture and that schools with a positive culture were more likely to have high levels of student achievement.

How to evaluate your wellbeing as a teacher

Analyzing teacher well-being can help identify areas where teachers may need additional support, resources, or intervention. Here's a guide to help you:

1. Regular self-check-ins

As a teacher, you probably have to deal with stress daily, like running a classroom and ensuring the curriculum and tests are done. Take some time to think about how you feel and where you have trouble. Thinking about your well-being can also help you understand what your coworkers might be going through. You might want to keep a journal to write down your thoughts, feelings, level of stress, and overall health.

2. Look at the bigger picture

Various factors beyond the classroom influence teachers' well-being. Instructors struggling with financial insecurity or personal issues may be more prone to stress and burnout. By considering the broader context, you can identify additional factors impacting your well-being and develop strategies to address them.

3. Utilize well-being assessment tools

Numerous digital platforms offer evaluations assessing various aspects of well-being, including physical fitness, emotional stability, and job satisfaction. These assessments can help you identify potential areas of concern and prioritize which ones to address first.

4. Seek feedback from others

Requesting feedback from colleagues, friends, and family members can offer a fresh pair of eyes on your wellness. Consider inquiring about your work-life balance, stress levels, and job satisfaction from those around you. This input can help you spot hidden snags and areas of concern that might have flown under your radar.

5. Identify triggers and develop coping strategies

To deal with stress and improve overall health, it's important to figure out what causes it and how to deal with it. Think about the things that stress you out the most and devise ways to deal with them. This could mean looking for professional development opportunities, financial planning resources, mental health support, or joining a group of teachers who help each other out.

6. Prioritize self-care

Self-care is important for keeping your mental and physical health in good shape. Do daily things that help you care for yourself, like working out, meditating, or spending time with people you care about. Putting yourself first can help you reduce stress and improve your health.

How to promote wellness as a teacher

There are many teacher wellness activities that you can engage in to improve your welfare. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Teachers can practice mindfulness by taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focus on their breath, and observe their thoughts and feelings.

  • Exercise: Exercise is a great way to improve physical and mental health. Teachers can find time to exercise during breaks or before or after school. This could be anything from taking a walk outside to joining a gym.

  • Creative outlets: Engaging in creative activities like painting, writing, or playing music can greatly reduce stress and improve happiness. Teachers can set aside time each week to pursue their creative interests.

  • Social support: Getting together with other teachers or friends can help you feel less stressed and improve your mental health. Teachers can join groups that share their interests or set up regular social events.

In addition to wellness activities, teachers can also think about more general ways to improve their health. Some of them are:

  1. Set boundaries: Teachers can set clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout. This could involve leaving work at a certain time each day or not checking email outside of work hours.

  2. Take breaks: Regular breaks throughout the day can help prevent burnout and increase productivity. Teachers can take a few minutes to stretch, meditate, or rest during their breaks.

  3. Prioritize self-care: Doing self-care activities like getting enough sleep, eating well, and relaxing can improve well-being. Teachers should prioritize self-care as an essential part of their daily routine.

  4. Create a positive environment: Creating a positive and supportive classroom environment can help you and your students feel better and less overwhelmed. Make it a habit to practice mindfulness or say positive affirmations.

  5. Prioritize professional development: Continuing to grow and learn as a teacher can help you feel more confident and fulfilled. Consider attending conferences or taking courses to develop new skills.

Prioritizing health and wellness can impact students

It is no surprise that teacher wellness can have a direct impact on student success. Studies indicate that there's a positive connection between teacher wellness and both student well-being and academic achievement. Content and healthy educators are better prepared to support their students, providing the guidance and resources necessary for them to excel.

Conversely, teachers grappling with mental or physical wellness may find it more difficult to engage with their students and offer effective assistance.

It's essential to recognize that prioritizing your wellness as a teacher benefits you and your students. When you're happy, healthy, and fulfilled, you're better equipped to support your students and cultivate a positive learning environment. So, take the time to focus on your health and wellness in and out of the classroom.

Ihor, CEO at Workee

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