18 Actions That May Boost Your Mental Health
I have a list of 28 actions I can take to help myself and teachers avoid stress. You should, too.
1. Get lost with creativity.
The simple act of finding a forgotten book or the words to a poem is intensely joyful. Leaving the house, running into a store, or building something. Now, isn’t that the key to mental health?
Articulate the decisions you make about what to eat. What are you waiting for? And what choices are so good that it’s almost necessary not to get anxious or frustrated?
3. Find a solution.
What do you have in your spare time that’s similar to the problem? Remind yourself of all the wonderful aspects of your life. Don’t dwell on the negative: change a situation or cultivate a new one!
4. Schedule time for yourself.
Are you happy with your job? If not, create a schedule and stick to it. You’ll realize you can perform better and you’ll be more productive.
5. Take a break.
Sit at your desk. Raise your voice, relax your muscles, slowly return your focus to the task at hand. On a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed are you?
6. Plan fun.
Make a wish that your weekends are spent going to the beach. If you don’t have time on Saturday, take a nap or take the day off to walk the dog. Indulge your fantasy. It may happen!
7. Believe in magic.
When you believe in something, you engage differently, and then you engage better. Mentally, you feel better, and physically, your breath increases. This teaches stress resilience and also teaches you to accept what doesn’t work.
8. Take care of yourself.
Stay hydrated. Take a walk. Spend time alone. Even a brief dinner with a friend can diffuse tension and negativity.
9. Write about your thoughts.
Write things down, and make an inventory of your thoughts, what is good, what is bad, and what is going on that you need to change. This helps you establish your sense of self and connect with the world.
10. Remind yourself of what is good.
Ask yourself what you are grateful for every day. One word overwhelms me: “Am I happy?” Every aspect of my life is exquisite, from the clarity of my thoughts to the sunshine streaming in through the window.
11. Stay positive.
The United States Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teachers are the third lowest paid job group (according to the 2014 National Compensation Survey; #2 is teachers’ assistants) in the nation. Once you get through the mental exhaustion of doing it all, the physical energy needed to work will lessen.
12. Be kind.
One hundred percent of those who work in schools and bring up children feel resentment. You need to be a model of love and kindness to others. A former boy scout friend told me he took a humorous nature class. When the teacher wouldn’t let him put his paws on his classroom walls, he asked the substitute teacher why she wasn’t letting him put his hands up. His response was to hold it up and tell her: “That’s all I have.” Let this be your default when you are feeling overwhelmed.
13. Don’t push.
Sometimes the teacher comes in at the beginning of the day, when most of the distractions have vanished, ready to distract. Remember: The bottom line of patience is to keep the fight to save one child. Reclaim this time for one, and focus on your own child. Your students will see the effort and reward you with their love.
14. Tell the truth.
Tell your children honestly what you’re feeling. How do you feel? What do you like and what do you hate? How do you want them to be in the world? Remember: Children require your best.
A small act – a smile, a hug, a cup of tea – make an impact on your kids. Don’t wait for them to see you giving. Remember: Your kids notice when you practice your values and don’t appreciate you for taking in things from the outside. Be generous.
Sometimes you are just not equipped to face your fears. Be passionate about what you do because what you do matters, even when you’re thinking, “What more can I do for them?”
17. Use “I” statements.
Instead of saying, “You.” Consider what you ask for and