Being a teacher may have never been as demanding as it was over the last year and a half due to issues with the education system brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the remote schooling mandates have passed, there is still constant struggle within the school system regarding masks, vaccines, and things of the like.
One of the silver linings of the pandemic, however, was an increase in capabilities for distance learning, making the pursuit of a second degree more realistic for people working full time, like teachers.
There is also a greater demand for a master’s degree for those teachers looking to advance, so taking advantage of the new online options is a good idea, but minimizing stress as the COVID situation continues is also important for the work/life balance.
Here are four strategies for avoiding burnout for teachers pursuing a second degree, or another endeavor in addition to teaching during a pandemic.
For many teachers, their home was their office for a better part of the last 18 months, and if you’re going to school online, it also becomes your classroom as a student. With the lack of a change in scenery, burnout happens faster. Even if your schedule is tight, find some time to travel, even if it’s only an hour drive somewhere you haven’t been in a long time.
New places spark creativity and rebuild stimulation regarding the tasks you need to accomplish when you do return home.
Having a steady sleep schedule can greatly help your focus and make you feel like you’re going to be able to accomplish more on a given day. Eating at the same time each night can help you fall into a habit of shutting off the lights the same time every night, and if you’re someone who wakes up when the sun comes up, just go to bed earlier.
If you’re having a particularly stressful day, taking a nap can also be a great way to renew the mind and become more energetic.
Physical wellness and mental wellness play off of each other, and working out your body also energizes your mind. You don’t have to do vigorous workouts to refresh the brain and counteract things that cause burnout. A nice walk is great, and even a quick at-home session of yoga or lunges/pushups/etc. causes your brain to focus on something other than work or school, allowing it to reset much like when taking a nap.
Make Work and School Feel New
Having a routine can be great for avoiding stress, but it also can cause boredom which leads to a lack of motivation and can also cause burnout. If you’ve been teaching the same exact lessons for a few years, mix it up for both yourself and your students.
Learning can be made fresh as well, and challenging yourself with games and small goals within your schoolwork can be very motivating. Be sure to reward yourself, too!
Help for Those Experiencing Burnout
If you still have trouble feeling motivated and are experiencing one or more of these symptoms regularly, you may be burned out.
- Lack of pride
- No goals
- Frustrated with friends and colleagues who don’t normally frustrate you
- Forgetfulness and absent-mindedness
If you do think you are experiencing burnout, you may have to re-evaluate your workload and make some bigger changes. It can always get better!