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Your Well-being

Managing stress

New York Teacher

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Is this your first year in a new assignment? Are you a veteran teacher who has transferred to a new school? Has your administration changed? Have you switched from pupil accounting to payroll secretary?

Even if you are experiencing a desired and exciting event, change itself can be stressful. Planning a wedding, the birth of a baby and buying a house are all major stressors.

Stress is no joke. It can leave you feeling tired. It leads to poor memory and concentration. It can interfere with your sleep and eating habits. You may find it harder to make decisions. You may experience mood swings or anxiety, fear or depression. Stress can also contribute to high blood pressure, chest pain, heart disease and stroke.

Since stress can’t be avoided, here are some quick tips for healthy ways of coping with stress:

  • Get plenty of sleep. Have a regular sleep schedule and cut down on coffee, soda and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Be physically active. Regular exercise improves mood, relieves stress and makes you healthier.
  • Relax your body and mind and breathe! Practice breathing deep from the abdomen and try yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques to find your favorite.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Good nutrition, including lean protein and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, is important at every meal. It will improve your mood and energy.
  • Talk it out. Use your personal support system — family, friends, coworkers or a mental health counselor — to discuss your concerns and hear alternative solutions.
  • Make time for yourself. Be sure to do something you enjoy every day.
  • Laugh it off. Whether it’s seeing or reading a comedy, enjoying a joke with a friend, or just trying to imagine your day from a humorous perspective, it can change your mindset.
  • Take a “happiness inventory.” Focus on the positive. At the end of the day, write down all the good things that happened — you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
  • Get help if you are struggling. There’s no substitute for professional help when it is needed.

Are you stressed? Take a quiz and learn about additional ways to manage stress.

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