Stress showed up early! It’s one of those days. You need to calm yourself down. Getting out of the house was a hard sale. Your own kids didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. Traffic was jammed pack and a thirty-minute drive turned into an hour. Stepping into the school, you hear the office secretary call you over the intercom system. Walking to the office to see what’s going on, you’re stopped by a coworker. He wants to know if he can borrow some books from your classroom library. Sure, it’s not a problem and you continue to the office. You feel your shoulders tense up and your head hurts.
Finally, you arrive in the office. The principal and a parent wait to meet with you. The parent is upset about her child’s grade on a test and wants an explanation of your grading process. The students arrive in ten minutes! You are cramped for time. During the meeting, you look at your watch several times. The parent is irate and you can’t seem to appease her. The meeting ends on a negative note. Now, you’re feeling flushed. Your students are coming in the door. Somehow, you need to calm down!
Now it’s time to count to 10 or 100 if you need to. Can this day please get better? The day just started! You can feel your stress level rising. Well, don’t let the stress take control. Situations can lead you to anger and frustration. How do you stay calm? There are steps you can take to help remain calm and handle stressful situations. Here are a few tips described in the book titled, Teach and Take Time for You: Strategies and Tips to Reduce Stress and Burnout.
Focus on your breathing. Sit in a chair and sit up straight. Close your eyes. Put your hand on your stomach. Slowly breathe in through your nose. Feel your breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Now reverse and exhale through your mouth. Try this for about five minutes. Deep breathing can slow down your heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Step back from the situation for a moment. See what is going on around you. Observe your surroundings. Listen to sounds around you. Hear the conversations or the concerns. Touch or feel objects like stress balls that will help you to calm down. Breathe in a calming scent. Lavender and lemongrass are essential oils. They are known for stress relieving qualities. Sip something relaxing. An herbal tea like chamomile is calming. By the way, no, you can’t have wine on the job!
Exercise is a great stress relief. Stretch your legs and arms. Touch your toes or as close to your toes as you can get. Roll your shoulders back and forth. Do your favorite yoga moves. Take a long walk. If you cannot go out for lunch, every office building or school building has hallways and stairs. You can walk throughout the building to get some exercise and work off the stress. Stretch in your office. Sit in a chair, put your arms over your head and your feet straight out. Now, wiggle your fingers and toes. Do a few head rolls. Get it moving!
Write down your feelings. Personal journals are a great tool to get down your thoughts and emotions. Journals are good for writing about your experiences and emotions. Put pen to paper to calm your nerves or anger. Describe your feelings through your words. You can draw pictures in your journal. Drawing is therapeutic. If you’re not a pen to paper person, there are some great apps available for android and Apple phones and tablets.
Your body reacts to all situations differently. Know your body and its triggers to stress. Do a mental scan of your body? What happens to you in stressful situations? Do your shoulders and neck tense up? Does your head hurt? Do you feel warm or feverish?
Learn more about your body. Sit in a chair and place your feet on the floor. Do a mental scan from the top of your head to your toes. Breathe deep and let your breath flow to the tight spots of your body. Make a mental note of the tight and loose spots on your body. Focus and pay attention to the tight spots. Continue to breathe deeply for a couple of minutes to loosen up the tight spots.
Your life is busy and you juggle many things each day. The list of things to do continue to grow. Home life is busy! Work life is insane! Your family keeps you on the go. You get stressed thinking about it all. With all these things, stress will creep up on you. Follow the tips above to head off the tension and ill effects of stress. Your journey to calm begins now. Breathe deeply. Move your body. Write down your emotions. Know your triggers to stress. Calm yourself down and release it. Peace!
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