The alarm goes off, and you groan.
Getting out of bed is a feat of sheer will. You love teaching, and you enjoy the time you spend with your ESL students – most of the time. But they are not the problem. The problem is that you are so tired. Maybe it’s because you work 40+ hours a week, or you have a whole other set of responsibilities in addition to your classes, but hey, it happens to the best of us!
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to get out of that energy slump. But first, let’s think about why it’s important for you de-stress and regain your energy.
Why It’s Important to De-stress
A stressed out human being is a ticking time bomb. The running from one class to the next, combined with personal and family responsibilities, not to mention things like the economic crisis, fear of losing your job, poor eating habits, few hours of sleep, etc…is one deadly cocktail. You cannot simply force yourself to go on. Sooner or later your health – physical, mental and emotional – will suffer for it. So, now that we all agree that it is indeed very important to take the time to detox and de-stress, let’s take a look at the steps. Set aside a complete weekend (a long weekend is better, and a week off will give you the best results).
Try These 7 Tips to Detox, De-stress and Regain Your Energy
Turn off your cell and computer, and leave these and any other technological devices off for the duration of your detox period, ideally. If it’s not possible choose one time during the day for you to check in, like first thing in the morning for a few minutes, and then disconnect yourself. This may be difficult, but it will be well worth it. Remember what it was like when we were little and had nothing better to do than sit on the porch and watch birds fly from tree to tree? Go back to the basics – enjoy time with your family, long walks or a cup of coffee with a friend.
Get Plenty of Rest
Allow yourself to sleep in. Indulge in a mid-afternoon nap. Or just lie on your comfiest sofa and look out the window. Let your entire body relax and enjoy the feeling that there is no rush, no place you have to run to right now. If you haven’t been getting enough hours of sleep, catch up on your zzzs. When your students see you again, they’ll notice the difference.
Feed Your Soul
Read some of your most inspiring authors. Read magazines as you lounge on your favorite chair. But don’t read stuff for work. Read things that will take you back to a more relaxed, carefree place.
Feed Your Body
With our hectic schedules and busy life, it’s far too common for ESL teachers to grab a quick bite instead of sitting down to lunch, or chow down on whatever we can find first once we get home. So, during your detox period, eat good, nutritious food. And take your time. Savor it and enjoy the flavors. Yummy, delicious food does wonders to our mood.
Guzzle up the H2O
It’s no big news that most of us don’t drink enough water. But few are aware that dehydration causes headaches, false hunger pangs and food cravings, among other symptoms. To find out how much you should drink in liters, simply multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.033. So, if you weigh 60 kg, that works out to about 2 liters of water a day.
Running from class to class does not qualify as good “exercise”. It’s stressful. Take the time to really enjoy some stress-free physical activity. Go jogging, walking, hiking, canoeing, rollerblading or anything you really enjoy doing outdoors.
As an ESL teacher you need to keep your students on their toes. You need to provide activities that are challenging, but not too difficult for their level. You need to complete the coursework and help your students meet language goals, but also keep your students’ individual needs and learning styles in mind. This takes a lot of mental work! During your detox period, take the time to quiet your mind. A meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and freeing your mind from all of the clutter, or it can be guided step by step.
Find a quiet spot, free of any distractions and close your eyes. Breathe in and out. Let the tempestuous sea of ideas, problems and issues fizzle out till it’s nothing but a calm ocean of opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more about meditation, the Meditation Society of America offers some wonderful resources and techniques.
Above all, take some time out for you.
The person who stands before his or her ESL students every day is a combination of heart, soul and mind, and these working together as a whole are the source of what makes you unique and special as a teacher. Do take care of that.
Do you have any other techniques, tips of ideas for de-stressing and detoxing? Please share them below!
Want another way to beat day-to-day stress? Be sure to check out more articles in our ESL Essentials section. We provide great ideas that you can use today, to make your day a little less stressful.