![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/9611aae7-f0ff-4429-bdbb-f1021b9f9435/0667147f-678c-4d50-b502-16762aff83eeSettle6.jpg ""){: .center } In early 2019, [a survey by the National Education Union](https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/apr/01/vast-majority-of-teachers-considered-quitting-in-past-year-poll/) found that 80% of respondents had seriously considered other careers because of the long hours required of teachers. Stress from teaching can have long-term effects on mental health and ultimately, your ability to do your job and live a happy life. Add the personal and professional stresses and strains that come with Covid-19 to the equation, and you have serious concerns for teacher wellbeing and welfare. Now more than ever, it is paramount that we all take care of our mental health. To coincide with National Stress Awareness Day, we have gathered some practical suggestions for keeping your stress levels down during this tumultuous time. ## Vary your social media use This is not to understate the benefit of social media for teachers. The feeling that you’re not alone, the ability to share resources and the opportunity to bathe in the wisdom of teachers far and wide is of huge benefit. But allowing your brain to explore other avenues, to think and create in other aspects of life will help you to relax. So take a look at #catsofinstagram and fall down the rabbit hole of interior design on [Pinterest](https://www.pinterest.co.uk//), and definitely don’t feel bad about it. ## Take some exercise One of the first commitments to take a dive in a teacher’s life is exercise. If you’re not marking books or planning lessons, you’re too tired to function let alone exercise. But [exercising has many benefits](https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits//) including increasing energy levels, reducing stress and keeping healthy. ## Be mindful Take the time to be in the moment. [Mindfulness](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness//) in times like these can be really helpful. One technique you can use to reset your mind to the present moment is to concentrate on your breathing and pay full attention to the experience. Notice the sounds, smells and sensations as you breathe. ## Read for pleasure Reading is meant to be a relaxing activity and can provide much needed escapism. For teachers, it is often seen as an opportunity to scrub up on the latest pedagogical movements or to find a great resource to be used in class. Whilst this is okay, make sure to schedule in time where the reading you do is purely for enjoyment. ## Enjoy holiday time The school holidays are for you to recoup and relax. It can be so easy to spend significant time doing school work during school holidays, but doing so prevents you from resting your physical and mental self. Practising mindfulness meditation can help to alleviate the panicked guilt that is often felt during school holidays. Without rest, can you really be the teacher you hope to be? ## Take a lunch break This is a tough one because you’re physically at work, but actually taking lunch can be a great brain rest and a good way to socialise with other teachers who are going through the same things as you. Promise to take lunch at least once a week, but aim for every day. In a six hour working day (9am until 3pm), it is [the legal right of every worker in the UK to have an uninterrupted 20 minute break](https://www.gov.uk/rest-breaks-work/)… so take it, guilt-free. ## Socialise with other teachers Teacher friends can be an invaluable support in stressful times: they will have empathy for the difficulties of the job and can draw on experience to provide advice. But when you socialise with other teachers (at a responsible distance of course), try to diversify the conversation away from the work that you do as well. Remember, a break is as good as a rest. **You can only do what you can do.** That includes doing what you can do for you, too. Take the time to do things that aren’t related to your work and do not feel guilty for them. In the long run, you’ll actually be a better teacher for it. Those are just a few suggestions on how to keep your stress at a minimum in the current climate. But what National Stress Awareness Day is all about is being aware of the stress that infiltrates our lives. Being aware of the stress triggers will help us all get through this together.