Is the Stress of Teaching Making You Sick?
If you’ve ever thought, “My job is killing me,” you might be closer to the truth than you think. Teachers and stress seem to go hand in hand, and your teaching job might be causing you serious health problems. Is teaching too stressful to be safe, and what can you do about it? Stress in America 2020 (Focus on Teachers) will help answer those questions.
Too Much Stress Is Bad for Your Health
Most health experts agree that a small amounts of stress is good for you. A little bit of stress can spur you to act. It can give you the motivation and the energy to take important steps in your life.
Stress becomes a problem when it becomes excessive. When you can’t cope with high levels of stress, the effects on your health can be severe.
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Teachers and Stress: Effects of Stress On Your Physical and Mental Health
Stress can affect your mind, body and spirit. If you don’t lower the levels of stress in your life, you could wind up with a range of symptoms that include the following.
- Physical problems: Headaches, chest pain, fatigue, loss of sex drive, muscle pains and digestive difficulties.
- Mood disorders: Stress can lead to harmful mood problems like anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger or sense of helplessness.
- Unhealthy behaviors: Overeating, drinking excessively, using tobacco, eating high-fat food and losing a desire to exercise.
What are the top life events that cause the most stress? Some of the items on this list might surprise you. If you’re a teacher, they might strike a familiar chord.
1. Money Matters
In 2018, the American Psychological Association published the report, Stress and America: Paying with Our Health. The report found that concerns about money have remained the top source of stress for the past decade.
Most Americans feel uneasy about their ability to make ends meet and plan for their financial future. As the authors write, “While some of the anxieties from the recession have subsided, the vast majority of Americans are still concerned about their finances. The three most significant sources of money-related stress were paying unexpected expenses, paying for essentials and saving for retirement.”
We often think of younger people as struggling with money concerns related to low wages and student loan debt. The study authors, however, found that there were few age-related differences. People of all ages worry about money. Money worries are “a somewhat or very significant source of stress for the majority of Americans.”
2. My Job Is Killing Me
You probably know that work tends to be a stressful situation. Work-related stress is more than just the daily small annoyances of any workplace. Stress can cause you to lose sleep, eat poorly and engage in other unhealthy behaviors.
When you’re at work, you’re too exhausted to deal with problems. That causes more problems at work, which leads to more stress. It’s a vicious cycle.
Do you know what presenteeism is? It refers to being present at work but not engaged with your work. People who suffer stress-related depression and anxiety will show up to work, but they won’t perform their jobs with real enthusiasm.
3. Family Concerns
Parents regularly live with the stress of taking care of their children. Toddlers and infants can disrupt their parents’ sleep schedules, and teenagers can create anxiety and stress about their social activities.
Family problems aren’t limited to people with children. Many people are taking care of family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Caretakers suffer high levels of stress.
Ready to Escape Your Classroom?
If you’re a teacher, your workplace is likely to be a source of stress for you. Mental health experts have identified six elements of a job that create high levels of stress.
Check out these six factors and ask yourself how they relate to the typical teaching position.
- Disliking your job.
- Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility.
- Working long hours.
- Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work or no say in making important decisions.
- Working in dangerous conditions.
- Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination.
How many of these things are present at your teaching job?
Can You Fix the Stress In Your Life?
According to doctors, you can and you should. Doctors say there are 10 serious health conditions that you can cure just by reducing your stress levels. They include obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, gastrointestinal diseases, asthma and diabetes.
“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” writes Dr. Jay Winner, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”
How to Prevent Problems of Teachers and Stress
Are you struggling with too much stress in your life? If you’re a teacher, most of your stress is caused by the lack of money and an unhealthy work situation. Here’s what you can do to lessen the effects on your health.
Focus on Teachers Health
Make an effort to start and end each day with a healthy routine. This can include something as simple as taking a five-minute walk or eating some fresh fruit. Stay connected to healthy habits as often as you can.
While you’re at work, remind yourself to occasionally breathe deeply and take a brief mental break from your day. If you need to get up from your desk and walk around the room, do that. It can help you make that break.
You might think that taking a second job will just add to your stress levels. It’s true that many teachers feel they have to work long hours at a second job because teaching doesn’t pay enough.
I’m not suggesting adding another high-stress situation to your life. I am suggesting that you find a way to make supplemental money that you can do on your terms and your schedule.
Increasing your income will ease the money-related stress of your teaching job. One of the best ways to do that is with my #1 recommendation. It’s a great resource for learning how to promote yourself, your aspirations, and your special concerns.
Ready to Escape Your Classroom?
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