Guest post by Joshua Bennett. Joshua is a teacher and blogger, he talks about teaching and mental health – I’m so glad to have him as my first guest blog post.
Even on the best of days, I carry around anxiety as a burden. Whilst I’ve long accepted it as part of who I am, it does make teaching challenging because of the pressure of talking in front of people – you can’t be a teacher without that really.
With the aid of some advice, lots of reading and working through my own condition, here are five things I’ve found work for me in the classroom.
1. Sleep Well, Eat Well
Sleep is difficult. While people who talk about its importance have their hearts in the right place, that doesn’t really help. Try not to worry about it – that thing keeping you awake at night, could be just the worry of not sleeping itself.
Then you finally do and five minutes later your alarm clock goes off. While you can never force yourself to sleep, you can make yourself eat. Have some porridge or a piece of fruit – eating healthily is one of the few things you can do to boost your energy and kick the anxiety.
Running may feel like the last thing you want to do in the morning – especially if you’re not prone to exercise. Trust me when I say that endorphins are the avengers of the chemical world. It will make you feel better, even if you just go for a few minutes.
3. Avoid Coffee
Coffee raises your heart-rate which anxiety is already doing – having is coffee is like anxiety on steroids. It’s a devastating cycle, want my advice? Swap out the Nescafe for some Lipton Green Tea. This for me has a calming effect – it might be a placebo but as soon as I smell the lemon I feel calmed. Make it your mission to find something that does that for you.
4. Live, Laugh and Love
Read a book, catch up on your series, play a sport, watch a sport – anything that distracts you from thinking about your anxiety. As devastating as my anxiety can be, it wouldn’t dare disturb me when I’m drinking lemon tea and catching up on ‘The Walking Dead’. Time with the living can be good too – friends or family are comforting and talking is a cure.
5. Buy an indestructible flask
Even if the tips so far have been useful, they may not help you directly in the classroom – you can hardly nip out for green tea, a banana and a hit of ‘The Walking Dead’.
This one will – queue your indestructible flask. It won’t break and burn anyone – you can fill it with your favourite calming drink and if you’re struggling “on stage”, squeezing it can be relieving, as though your tension itself is being transferred to the flask. It’s like a stress ball – but without making it seem like you’re stressed.
Give it a go and see if it helps you relieve the tension of your day.
Would these tips help you reduce anxiety?
Has anything else worked for you?
Guest post by Joshua Bennett. Joshua is an education blogger, he talks about teaching and mental health – I’m so glad to have him as my first guest blog post. He writes at Failedteacher.com