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Top 7 strategies to manage anxiety as an educator

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 16 August 2021 10:05 AM SAST
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This article is based on the work of Dr Jenn Cooper at Glasgow Caledonian University, psychotherapist, Ben Amponsah outlines 7 key strategies to help teachers and education staff to manage anxiety during the coronavirus crisis. Here is quick summary of his 7 strategies for you to reference.

1. Manage your worries
Everyone is experiencing worries. Teachers have specific worries such as the current anxiety about when schools will be reopening, worries about vulnerable students and how to teach remotely.  

  • Writing down your worries can help them become more manageable and  less overwhelming.
  • Analyse the evidence for and against the worry.
  • Do some problem solving to help decide what you are going to do about it.
  • Allocate, and boundary, specific worry time so that you don’t worry throughout the day.
  • Get enough sleep and ensure you have good sleep habits.

2. Manage your information
The amount of news and information available currently is overwhelming:

  • Choose your sources carefully and ensure that they are trustworthy and reliable.
  • Allocate a time for catching up with news and information, rather than reviewing a constant drip feed.
  • Limit the amount of time spent on news.

3. Communication with friends and family

  • Limit the conversations or contact with people that make you more anxious.
  • Let close friends or family know if things that they do make you feel anxious.
  • Limit your consumption of social media, unfollow or mute people or groups that make you more anxious.
  • Talk things through with trusted friends and loved ones, tell them how you are feeling regularly.

4. Shift your perspective

  • Everything feels a bit bleak at the moment and it is easy to start to think the worst case possible.
  • Analyse negative thinking patterns.
  • Identify positive things that have happened today to balance the negative thinking e.g. keep a gratitude diary

5. Establish a routine to beat isolation and loneliness
The education profession is highly social and so during this period  you may be particularly affected by the loss of connection with colleagues and students:

  • Get a routine to avoid bad habits and boredom which can increase anxiety and affect your mental health.
  • Get up, get dressed and eat regularly.
  • Schedule your day.
  • Keep contact with friends and relatives regularly.
  • Keep active and exercise regularly.
  • Do something you never had time for before e.g. writing, gardening, photography etc...

6. Manage relationships

  • Relationships during lockdown will be challenging so acknowledge this.
  • Plan family meetings.
  • Anticipate conflict and agree how to manage it.
  • Have a routine and structure for kids.
  • Be honest with kids about what is going on and how you are feeling.
  • Schedule screen time.
  • Occupy kids and get their input on what activities they want to do.

7. Accept uncertainty

  • Reducing the need for certainty will reduce your worries. It is an uncertain world we live in all the time not just during this crisis.
  • It is ok to feel sad at the loss of your normal life and social interactions.
  • It is ok to feel angry that you cannot see friends and family.
  • Realising that your feelings are normal will help you accept them.

Or you can watch the video here.

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