Being an Instructional Coach can be taxing to say the least. We are teachers of teachers. We are data bases. We are advocates for students. We wear so many hats that sometimes the ones that are most important get put on the backburner. It’s important we remember to pull out the “I’m still a person” hat, “mom/dad” hat, or any other hat we previously enjoyed wearing before school started up again. Not getting to wear all the hats you want to can be frustrating, but wearing too many hats can be downright stressful.
According to Healthline, stress that is not properly managed can lead to “irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia;” none of these side effects are conducive to doing a good job no matter what hat you are wearing so what can you do to maintain your stress?
Here is a list of ten coping mechanisms to keep you mentally healthy.
Tip # 1 Take care of you: It’s so important for you to take care of your whole self all the time but especially when you are in a high stress situation. One way to take care of yourself is by exercising whether that be running or going on a brisk walk around the track, gym, or hallway if you can’t get away from work. If you can get away from work, yoga is a wonder way to center yourself while gaining physical balance and working your tense muscles.
Tip #2 Watch what goes in: Another way you need to take care of yourself is monitoring what you are ingesting during the day. Keep in mind your body needs to stay hydrated to keep moving so a straight coffee and Diet Coke diet will not suffice. Drink plenty of water and keep healthy snacks with you to much on throughout the day if needed. Also make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet at home.
Tip #3 Talk it out: One of the best ways to de-stress is to talk out what you are stressed about (while remaining confidential). This is also a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. It’s no secret that once school starts our lives get busier (and if you have school aged kids they get busier yet!). So take the time to call up your best friend or your mom and just chat. You can use this time to get some stuff of your chest or you can use it to not think about work at all.
Tip #4 Think Calming Thoughts: A great way to decompress is to allow yourself to go into a place of pure zen. One way to get there is by going to get a massage. A massage helps pull out that bad energy and leaves you feeling so relaxed. Typically, after a massage, you get the best sleep of your life so it helps in that department too. Another way to calm your mind is to light a candle and make true use of those essential oils. Whether you are diffusing them while you take a nice candle lit bath or just using them as aroma therapy they can be very helpful.
Tip #5 Be Inspired: While you are taking that luxurious bubble bath, turn on an inspirational podcast to help motivate you. One of the biggest podcasters out there right now is Lewis Howes who will be releasing a new book soon. He is currently doing three podcasts a week and they will teach you how to be great; his focus is “a real-world guide to living your dreams, making and impact, and leaving a lasting legacy.” Another great podcast to listen to is Gretchen Rubin. Her newest show entitled, “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” is hosted with her sister. It’s taking the podcast world by storm and is there to help you “increate your happiness in life.” These are just a few of the great podcasts you can listen to whether you are relaxing in the bath or on your way to work.
Tip #6 Make the Great Escape: Sometimes, what you really need is some time just to yourself. While you may be reading this thinking it sounds rather selfish, get that idea out of your mind. A little time just with “me, myself, and I” can be very therapeutic. Take in a funny movie or a comedy show. It’s good for you to get out and to get a laugh!
Tip #7 Change it up: Along with taking yourself out on a hot date to the movies, you can take yourself out on a hot day to salon. Whether that means dropping a little cash to get a new hairdo while you vent to your hairdresser or leaning back and getting a pedicure, taking care of yourself in this way is incredibly important too. We all know self-esteem is a big part of life and sometimes what we need is a little pick me and maybe a new pair of shoes to help us forget our work woes.
Tip #8 Read it: Getting lost in a book can be a great way to de-stress and focus your mind elsewhere. You can either read a book simply for pleasure (hello Nicholas Sparks) or you can focus on a self-help type book. A great book to look into is entitled Practicing Mindfulness. This book teaches you about how to mediate correctly and discusses how science has shown the ways meditation can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Learning this art can come in handy in a variety of stressful situations.
Tip #9 Write it: If you’re not the type of person to talk out your feelings, you can always choose to write about them. It’s important to somehow let go of the stress you may be feeling and if you’re not a vocal person, writing is a great way to do it. Keeping a journal that talks about your thoughts and feelings is a great way to let things go, and it gives you something to reflect on later.
Tip #10 Just say…: “NO.” This is the best two-letter word in the entire dictionary and as people in the field of education we simply do not say it enough. Recognize what you can take on and don’t put too much on your plate. If you can’t handle any more at this time, tell the person making the request that you simply don’t have time. Learning how to say “no” when you need to will make your life so much less stressful in the short and long term.
Stress is all around us every day and that’s ok. Stress can be healthy when it’s managed appropriately. Follow the tips above to help you be the best Instructional Coach you can be. Remember to take care of you. If you aren’t at your best, will they be at theirs?