Coming to the end of the term, finalising portfolios, reports and staff changes can all take their toll on educators.
What does this mean for our stress levels?
The stress we might be feeling is not just anxiety about the events themselves - it’s also about the loss of routine and the security that gives us. Time pressures can lead to sleep, exercise and healthy eating disruptions.
What happens when we’re stressed?
Adults might feel overwhelmed, become less patient and become forgetful and distracted with less time to give others.
Children might exhibit behaviours more typical of younger children, have shorter concentration spans showing less capacity to follow instructions, test previously established boundaries, have more heightened emotions (be more likely to cry or act out).
Be You resources
As an educator, your wellbeing is an integral part of a mentally healthy learning community. It also has close links to children and young people's wellbeing and educational outcomes.
There are many Be You resources to help individuals and learning communities build and maintain educator wellbeing. Visit our educator wellbeing page for more information.
The Understand module on the Mentally Healthy Communities domain, is another good place to start.
Supporting each other and beating stress
It’s always good to remember most relationships between educators, children, young people and their carers are generally well established and we’re able to anticipate difficulties and be responsive.
Here are some ideas for staying calm and connected in your school or service:
- Maintain physical and emotional connections with children and young people on an individual level. In all the busyness, keeping the personal connection is just as important as at any other time of year.
- Try to keep routines as intact as possible. Establishing a sense of calm predictability will reduce tension, especially at busy times of day. Maintain rituals such as lunch or rest times. This provides everyone with a sense of familiarity and structure.
- Keep a core of known, favourite experiences for children and young people to engage with as they go through out of routine celebrations. For children these might be sensory and creative materials such as playdough, clay, painting, drawing or dramatic play props or spaces to spend time in alone.
- Also, keep part of the room familiar, arranged as it usually is and use visual supports to assist memory – timetables of events and communicate any changes. Children and young people may need to hear and see extra detail about what is happening next.
Remember to be kind to yourself and others. There is a lot going on and things can feel very demanding.
Try not to expect perfection, from yourself or others.