Some Days Are Diamonds; Some Stone: Stress/Mental Health Management


Let’s face it, life is stressful. And life for a yearbook adviser can double or triple that stress level. If we don’t manage our stress and take care of ourselves, someone else may end up taking care of us.

To help manage that we can take advice from a sea turtle.

Swim With The Current
Everyone experiences things differently and reacts differently; however, research shows if we practice mindfulness, it will help us reduce anxiety and depression.

I tell my students all the time, pay attention to details, be aware, don’t have tunnel vision. Use positive affirmations and let yourself learn to let things go.

Pay attention. It's hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do.

Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.

Be A Good Navigator
Teachers are experts at pivoting, something the world discovered during the pandemic.

We have to pivot when:
- technology won’t work
- unexpectedly absent
- required to attend an ARD meeting
- 3/4 of your class has the flu and is absent
- and the list goes on….

Yearbook staffs pivot all the time:
- interview fell through
- memory card crashed
- Internet went down
- fire drill, during yearbook period on deadline day
- and this list goes on….

Working backwards helps – when do you want the book? Count backwards from there to set deadlines, look at the school calendar, contribute to your team and have your staff do the same. Thinking on your feet and knowing how to pivot will help navigate the stress when things go wrong.

Stay Calm Under Pressure
Think about a time when you were in a pressure situation – it could have been when you were the quarterback in the state football game, first presentation to your college class, anything. Write down what you were feeling before, then ask yourself what’s the next step. Think about a good way to work through it and a not so good way to work through the situation. When the event is over, ask yourself: What did I do right and what can I do the next time I’m in a pressure situation?

Don’t forget to breathe. It sounds crazy, but it can happen. Keep a grateful notebook-little things, big things you are grateful for – write them down. Admit when you’re wrong, fix it, apologize or whatever needs to be done and move on. Avoid dwelling on the negative.

Positive Self-talk, Prayer, Meditation
Think of someone who had an impact on your life. Right now, as you’re reading this, text or email that person a quick, “thank you” for being in my life. Maybe it’s a teacher, a relative, a friend.
If you seem stressed, the students will pick up on it.

Be Well Traveled
Travel around your school and find out what’s offered to make your life less stressful. Services like auto mechanics, cosmetology, catering and more are offered in many high schools and are usually open to the public and are usually much less expensive than in the “real world.”

Think Long Term
How do you feel when you think something is consuming you?

Break down those tasks into small chunks; Keep a list and a calendar. The list and calendar can be on paper or in digital form. Maybe even both. That way you can plan and have blocks of time for each event including family, school and activities.

Let’s face it, we teach because we love kids and helping them see their potential. If a child knows you love and care about them, they will be more receptive to learning the content. The better the rapport in the classroom, the less stress you will have.

Age Gracefully
We know we should exercise. If that’s not possible, take a walk. Think about what you see as challenges to exercising. You will have more time in different stages of your career. As your progress through life responsibilities and priorities change.

Have fun as you get older. Your students will love teaching you about the current trends.

Spend Time at the Beach
If you looked at the slides, you could tell from the photos I love cruising and the beach. I took or painted all the photos used except for the old turtle. Surround yourself with things you like or things that inspire you. Take time each day for yourself. You’ve heard that before, and you think you're too busy. Yes, we’re busy, but unless you take care of yourself first – you won’t be able to lead others. And, your stress and mental wellbeing depend on it.

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