Bringing Awareness to Stress
Date Posted: 11/02/2022
National Stress Awareness Day is meant to remind everyone dealing with stress they are not alone. Stress plagues everyone in different ways, and there are multiple ways to tackle it.
It’s Time Texas and ATPE is also hosting a free webinar to combat educator burnout. Register for this webinar, to learn from Andrea Rosario, MPH, CHES, as she uncovers the trends behind educator burnout, tools to assess it, why self-care should not be the only solution, and identifying the best practices for administrators to implement to reduce burnout.
Stress can be a good thing for remembering deadlines or getting work done, but sometimes stress can be overpowering. Hans Selye, a 1900’s historic Hungarian endocrinologist, is often credited with being the founder of the theory on stress, according to the National Library of Medicine, and here is what he had to say on stress: “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.”
With that in mind, know that stress is inevitable and unavoidable. The key is finding ways to keep it in check. A 2015 Harvard Medical School article explains that one important aspect of managing stress is understanding what it is. The article discusses the brain’s stress response and how stress triggers this physical reaction. Stress causes the brain to release adrenaline and cortisol, according to Harvard Medical School. Although cortisol may not be widely known, adrenaline is, and most know what happens when the body is pumped with adrenaline. Short-term stressful situations can become easier to deal with, but chronic stress leads not only to mental health challenges but also physical damage, including increased blood sugar, high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Stress is also complicated because it affects every person differently. For some, tension headaches, both present and delayed, are a symptom. However, symptoms can also include back pain, indigestion and heart palpitations, according to the article. As people research and educate themselves on stress symptoms, they will become more aware of what regular stress symptoms they have.
For educators in Texas, working in public schools has been complicated, to say the least, since spring break 2020. So, it is important to use strategies such as these suggestions from Harvard Medical School to manage stress: relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and goal setting.
Another good resource is the It’s Time Texas "Burnout Toolkit for Educators." This toolkit from ATPE professional learning partner It’s Time Texas explains how to differentiate between stress and burnout and take steps to prevent burnout. This download offers:
- Stats about the prevalence of burnout among Texas educators.
- Resources for burnout self-assessments.
- Eight strategies for burnout prevention.
- Reflection questions.
- Tips for administrators seeking to support teachers.
Download your copy of this resource today.