With the general sense of uneasiness that comes with living in these fast-moving times, it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed—especially as a teacher. We not only have to look after our school and our learners but we also have to bear the responsibility for our families and our personal health. Worry and anxiety often become a part and parcel of our routine.
However, the way we interact with our anxiety and stress can have a huge impact on our bodies as well the on the world around us. We can greatly benefit from taking care of our psychological well-being by engaging in meaningful activities every now and then.
Here are 3 simple mental health activities that anyone can indulge in whenever that anxiety hits off:
Activity 1: Quick Check on Mental Health Template
This mental health activity can easily be embedded into our weekly routine and can help us keep a regular check on our stress levels. The template here serves as a tool to ensure we take regular breaks and engage in meaningful activities frequently.
You can rate yourself 1,2,3 and a star depending on the listed item and your participation.
1 stands for “I do this poorly”
2 stands for “I do this sometimes”
3 stands for “I do this often”
Star stands for “I would like to improve at this”
In case you are rating yourself 1 on most of these items, it is an alert that states you need professional help. Remind you, that there is no shame in seeking professional help.
If you are rating yourself 2 on most items, it’s an indication that you can do better to prioritize your mental health.
If you are rating yourself 3 for most items, then Kudos! You are winning at this stress management game.
Take note of the parameters where you have given yourself a star and include actionable steps for them in your routine in the coming week. Assess those parameters carefully the next week to check if there has been an improvement or not.
You can even add your own assessment columns and modify this template as per your schedule and preferences.
Activity 2: Boundary Setting Script
Create a boundary-setting script that defines your internal set of rules for yourself. This script would essentially outline what behaviours are acceptable to us and what aren’t, how much time and space we need from others, and what priorities we have for ourselves and for our work.
This script should also include how people are allowed to treat us and how we are responsible for reacting to stressful situations. Some boundaries could be as follows:
I will listen to my HOD's instructions carefully and then react accordingly.
My body needs to rest from time to time.
I own responsibility for my actions.
I need to calm down in order to respond well to my students.
After successfully creating this boundary-setting script, make a clean copy of it on a piece of paper and carry it with you. Whenever uneasiness arises, take a minute or two and read this script before responding to the situation. In stressful situations, this script is a great way to breathe through and calm down.
Activity 3: Rucksack Activity
This is a five-minute mindfulness activity that helps in identifying and regulating emotions. It helps us relax, unwind and unload our stress. By doing so, we can become more aware of the present moment and live it to the fullest. Find a calm, noise-free space to sit and watch this video to engage in this activity:
As teachers, we can try to better our mental health by engaging in simple stress management activities as listed above. These activities not only provide valuable self-reflection opportunities but also benefit our entire ecosystem including our students, our family and our school. A stressful teacher exudes stress while a happy, stress-free teacher exudes positivity and creates a better learning environment. To read more about why mental health is important for teachers, click here!
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Simran is a writer here at Suraasa and has formerly worked as a Teacher. She is passionate about learning and making a difference through her words.