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Dealing with personal issues - education staff

Dealing with difficulties in our personal lives can take its toll on our physical and emotional wellbeing as well as having an impact on us at school, college or university. It can be hard to separate what happens inside and outside of work as we are one person, with a mind and body that is with us constantly. In particular, working in schools can make this harder as there is no hiding behind a desk when you are teaching or caring for students.

We can find it hard to speak to work about these difficulties due to a number of reasons:

Dealing with illness - education staff

Dealing with a chronic or serious illness can feel overwhelming and bring around many unwanted changes.  It is often a serious loss to us where we have to give up much to deal with our changed circumstances. (see Dealing with bereavement). It can often make us feel powerless and out of control.

Dealing with bereavement- education staff

Bereavement can leave people feeling panicky, frozen, depressed, angry and a whole host of very overwhelming feelings. There is no one way to grieve and sometimes it can affect people years after the death happened, especially if they did not mourn at the time. As mortals we are not very well equipped to deal with our mortality or those of the people we are close to.

What to do about depression - teachers and education staff

One of the most important things to do is to firstly recognise that you are depressed rather than feeling that this is just how I am or it has to be.

It is often hard to know what will help as mostly individuals do not have the training to be able to work out what the causes are.  Going to a psychological professional to help work out what is causing the depression in terms of: is it to do with events in our historic past, or more recent past or an illness, will help inform what may work best. 

I feel depressed - depressed teachers and education staff

Depression is a common mental health problem that causes people to experience low mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

Eating well - teachers and education staff

We need to eat well for our prefrontal cortex (rational brain) to work and allow us to perform to the best of our abilities. Often when people feel irritable, are in a mood or they are finding it hard to concentrate it is because their prefrontal cortex needs refuelling as it has a short battery.

Physical wellbeing - teachers and education staff

Your physical wellbeing is key to your mental performance. The stronger you are physically the better your mind and body will work. Chess master Garry Kasparov swears by his exercising routine to keep his brain in shape.

Emotional wellbeing - teachers and education staff

Our emotional health is paramount to our performance, resilience and ability to manage feelings like stress, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed.

When we feel intense emotional responses i.e. we get angry, cross, frustrated, or overwhelmed, we produce cortisol and adrenaline.  These hormones were historically useful when we were running around the savannah trying to escape threats like tigers. It is an evolutionary response based on our former environment when we were under many threats.  

Better sleep tips for teachers

Sleep is imperative for our minds and bodies to function. Find out why and read our tips to ensure you get a good night's sleep. 

If we are aware of the signs we are overwhelmed at the early stages we can take preventative action. So how do we know what to look out for in ourselves?