It's no secret that the last few years have been difficult for both students and teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it stress, anxiety and a slew of unknowns that can be difficult to deal with in any situation, but especially in the classroom. Educators are expected to be "on point" every minute of the day, which is impossible if fatigue is a constant companion.
When it comes to handling exhaustion, there are a few strategies that we recommend. If you’re an educator, we hope that you’ll find these methods helpful - even if this is just a reminder!
Something as simple as a walk during break time can be helpful in boosting your energy levels. Even just five minutes of movement can make a difference! Another great way to incorporate movement into your day is by joining in on your class’ lesson of BrainAhead. The Brain Bootcamp exercises specifically are great for activating parts of the brain that help with focus and decision-making.
As easy as it is to grab a quick snack from the “free-for-all” bowl in the staff room, the truth is that sugar and heavily processed foods will not supply you with the energy you desire. Our suggestion is to keep various nutritious snacks in a locked drawer in your classroom if possible. These snacks could include trail mix (light on the chocolate), nuts and a banana or apple.
Drink Plenty of Water
Did you know that the body is made up of about 60% water? That means that our cells, including those in our brain, require water to function properly. We understand that it can be hard to remember to drink water so we suggest keeping a full bottle or two at your desk in plain sight. From personal experience we know that if it’s out of sight, it’s probably out of mind too! You can set goals for how much water to drink by certain time points in the day by labelling the outside of your bottle. In fact, there are bottles that have time stamps on them like the one below.
Surround Yourself with Good People
We don’t know about you, but when we’re stressed out and tired, being around certain people actually lifts us up. Being intentional about who you spend your time with, even in the staffroom, can have a positive impact on your energy levels!
Incorporate Mindful Breathing Into Your Day
Although breathing may not directly increase energy levels, it can certainly help calm nerves and reduce anxious feelings and stress symptoms. The BrainAhead Mindfulness program contains the perfect 10-minute break that you’re looking for. Or start your day with breathing and mindfulness exercises to help alleviate tension and set a more mindful tone for the day.
To summarize, it’s the small changes throughout your day that will help to maintain and boost your energy levels. Some say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so it can be helpful to start with one or two changes at a time and build up from there.