Teaching is an incredibly demanding job.
More work is constantly piled onto your plate daily.
Even if you are a veteran educator, you can still find it impossible to manage all that has been added to your workload.
I see you.
I recognize you.
I appreciate you.
No amount of support, though, takes the strain out of your life.
I wish I could wave a wand and take away the additional duties you have been assigned.
I cannot do that.
What I can do is offer advice that has proven to help hundreds of teachers just like you learn to manage the workload that threatens to overwhelm you.
First and foremost, let’s acknowledge that YOU are NOT the problem.
The additional duties that never should have been on your plate are the problem.
You are doing what you were trained to do, and what you can do, which is to say you are doing your BEST!
Failing to finish every task does not mean you are weak or inadequate.
Just because you carry the burden does not mean it isn’t heavy.
Here are 5 tips to get started on your journey toward reducing your burnout:
1/ Set Clear Boundaries
It is important to set boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
This might mean putting a strict limit on the number of hours you work each day.
2 / Prioritize Self-Care
Taking care of yourself is crucial to preventing burnout.
Make sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.
This might mean doing a meal prep while watching your favorite movie, or simply zoning out for a while and letting your mind wander wherever it chooses.
Exercising is another great way to boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
Movement of any kind is good. Find what works for you and do it.
3/ Find a Support System
Whether it's a colleague, a mentor, or a friend; it's important to have someone you can talk to about the challenges you're facing as a teacher.
A support system might look different, too.
Find someone you can trust and leverage their listening ear.
4/ Start saying “No!”
Teachers are known to be incredibly generous and kind humans who are capable of just about anything and give endlessly.
But saying “Yes” to everyone means you’re saying “No” to your own wellbeing.
Start saying “No!” more often.
Stop volunteering for roles at your school.
Stop agreeing to every little request from your admin and colleagues.
This may feel harsh, but it’s a necessary step toward allowing yourself space to do your main job – teaching
Respect yourself by saying “No” to asks and tasks that do not protect your own time and mental health.
Be as polite as possible, but firm in your “No!”
5/ Reflect on Your Practice
Reflecting on your teaching practice can help you identify areas where you might be able to cut out things you have committed to in the past but are not fully necessary.
Are there practices that can become more efficient?
Tasks that can be automated?
Discern between tasks that are truly urgent and those that can wait a bit.
Then focus on doing the tasks that move the needle the most and stop worrying about the rest.
Remember, burnout is not a sign of weakness.
It's a sign that you are human and that you are working to the best of your ability within a system that is known to assign additional duties to its workforce.
By taking steps to reduce your burnout, you can protect your peace, reduce additional harm to your wellbeing and gain much needed clarity on what is best for your future.
You are not alone on your journey.
If you do not yet have a trustworthy support system, or you simply need some guidance on how to start, accelerate, or reinvigorate your career transition, we are here to help.
Drop a comment below, or send us a note here.