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Keeping Your Professional Cool Under Stress

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As you transition from your college career into your professional career as an educator you will be experiencing many new beginnings in your life, one of which may include a type of stress you have never dealt with before. The great excitement of your first year teaching can sometimes be coupled with great stress and anxiety to meet the needs of your students, administrators, peers and parents! Here are a few tips I learned in a recent workshop to help you keep your cool under stress.

 

Situation:

1. Clearly identify problem areas - a specific person or situation where communication would be more productive if you could react in a more stable, mature, enjoyable manner.

2. Plan how to reduce, eliminate or avoid contributing factors to stress.

3. Pace yourself and your activities (always reminding myself to do this one!).

4. In the midst of chaos, stand back and become calm. Push less, be open and be aware. Listen quietly; detach yourself from your emotions. Use intuition and reflection rather than trying to force solutions on problems.

5. Keep your sense of humor (so important)!

 

Body:

1. Know your physical needs. Your general well-being has a profound effect on how you react to stressful situations. Proper nutrition and exercise will help you think better, be more alert, more creative, calmer.

2. Breathe deeply. Inhale to the count of four, hold four counts, exhale to the count of four and hold empty four counts. (I call this Square Breathing, and it really helps!)

3. Pay attention to how much you are demanding of your body. Fatigue will affect your communications and make you more irritable.

4. Relax your muscles throughout the day.

 

Mind:

1. You are not the target, do not take everything personally.

2. Create an affirmation that clearly describes what type of qualities you would like to project. Be genuine, relaxed, confident and in control.

3. Know your mental saturation point. Realize you need to divert your attention. Read for pleasure, take a walk, get a cup of coffee/tea.

4. Daydream (but not during lesson time!) and meditate. Don't repeat negative things to yourself.

5. Visualize yourself when you were successful in a similar situation. Recapture those feelings. Visualize how a role model might handle things. Visualize yourself being in complete control and resolving the situation.

 

No circumstance, insult, criticism, comment or behavior from another being can create tension in you. You are responsible and therefore accountable for your own stress. You can improve your communications by learning to relieve stress in your own situation, body and mind. Remember you are important, you are confident, you are in control and you can make a positive impact in student's lives!

 

My favorite quote taken from the recent workshop I attended:

Q-TIP: Quit Taking It Personally!

 

 

Sandra Lindelof

Program Coordinator, Career Services

Central Washington University

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