7 ways to feel good this school year
To prioritise feeling good and avoid burnout we need to learn to complete the body’s stress cycle. We share seven evidence-based, and readily available, ways for teachers and education staff to try this school school year.
Articles / 2 mins read
Emily and Amelia Nagoski argue that in order to avoid burnout we need to learn to complete the body’s stress cycle. The stress cycle starts when we perceive a threat. Something happens – maybe an Ofsted inspection? – and the body sends out stress hormones.
Our bodies are not designed to cope with a constant presence of stress hormones. They are messengers, intended to be present in the body for short periods. Their long-term or chronic presence in our bodies can have significant health consequences.
We therefore need to find ways to tell the body that we are no longer under threat, and it can stop producing stress hormones. They call this, ‘completing the stress cycle’.
Here are seven evidence-based, and readily available, ways to do this:
Run, swim, dance (whatever you enjoy – the aim is NOT to train for the Olympics!). The Nagoskis note that movement is 'your first line of attack in the battle against burnout’. 20-30 minutes a day is ideal, but anything is better than nothing!
Talking to colleagues can help boost our mood and reassure us that the world is a safe place to live. Laughing together—and even just reminiscing about the times you’ve laughed together — increases relationship satisfaction
Connect with others
A twenty second hug with someone you hold dear has been shown to lower stress levels as much as exercise. And it doesn’t have to be physical affection – simply speaking to someone with whom you share a special connection can make a huge difference to how you feel.
Deep, slow breaths can help regulate the stress response. For a simple, practical exercise you can try
- breathe in to a slow count of five
- hold that breathe for five
- exhale for a slow count of ten
- pause for another count of five
It can be difficult to sleep when we are feeling stressed. But getting a full, uninterrupted night sleep wherever possible can be a great tool in the fight against stress.
There is no shame in crying! Crying may not change the situation that caused the stress, but allowing yourself to cry after a stressful event is proven to help by releasing feel good hormones. It can help you relieve physical as well as emotional difficulties.
Engaging in a creative activity you enjoy today – wherever it be music, art or sport has been shown to lead to more energy, excitement, and enthusiasm tomorrow.
To learn more about completing your stress cycle read ‘Burnout: the secret to completing the stress cycle’ by Emily and Amelia Nagoski.
Ask yourself: Do I have ready access to the strategies listed above? Do I regularly ask myself if I need them? Do I prioritise making time for them?
Download the infographic to share with your colleagues.
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