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Social Emotional Learning | February 1, 2024

10 Tips to Help Teachers De-Stress

The work of a teacher can feel never-ending and stressful. This article, written by a teacher who can relate, includes several suggestions for teachers to make time for themselves and their non-work priorities to destress as an educator and to improve work life. These suggestions can be applied anytime, but especially over holidays and breaks! 

De-Stress Suggestions

Teacher stress seems to be at an all-time high. Teachers have exhausting to-do lists as they manage classrooms filled with students, administrative responsibilities, and their own to-do lists. That’s why when the bell rings at the end of the school day or school year, it's important to relax and unwind so that you return to work refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. The tips in this article are applicable to daily stress management, and are especially important during holiday and summer breaks. Read on for suggestions to help you destress as an educator!


No matter whether you sport your yoga gear or a tracksuit, or exercise indoors or outside, it is important to get your body moving. Exercise releases stress-busting endorphins that will give you pep in your step and lift your mood, even when you feel burned out after a long day. Choose a time that best suits your individual lifestyle.

Ignore Your Teacher Bag

I know it might be hard—teacher guilt is real—but resist the temptation to crack open your lesson plan book or grade papers…and do it every night, and for at least some of your holidays. You need some time to separate yourself from work to give your brain a break before getting back into “teacher mode.”

Prioritize SEL

Social-emotional learning is something we always talk about in our classrooms. We must prioritize our own social-emotional learning as educators and humans, too! Check into your own relationships and build connections that promote meaningful relationships in your life.

Watch Your Favorite TV Show

While this can’t happen every day of your week or even your holiday break, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional binge-a-thon. Or if you’re like me, enjoy a holiday movie marathon. There’s nothing better than snuggling on the couch with some holiday cookies or carton of ice cream, the fireplace roaring, and the remote in hand. Give yourself some time to relax on the couch in front of your favorite show.


Travel is a great way to reset when you’re feeling stressed. Consider the destinations that would relax or re-energize you. Of course, travel is not feasible on a work night or even a weekend. Reserve big trips for holiday breaks and summer vacation, but if you plan in advance, you can enjoy the anticipation of a getaway. In times when you feel overwhelmed, it’s nice to have something relaxing on the calendar to look forward to. For those times when you do decide to pack a bag and get away from it all, make sure to give yourself at least one day at home before you go back to school to get organized, do laundry, and stock your fridge.

However, you don’t need to really go far to “get away.” Be a sightseer in your own town or city. Squeeze in a work night outing to a place you’ve never been in your own backyard. Spend one day of your weekend exploring a sight on your local bucket list.


Read a Book

My “to-read” list is always a mile long and includes a mix of pleasure reading and professional reading. While I certainly want to read more about increasing rigor in my instruction or supporting academic discourse, it’s important to balance my reading list with a novel for pleasure reading and to lose myself in a good book. Just like your students, you want to read books that open your mind and let you enjoy a great read, for your own health and wellbeing.

Indulge Your Hobby

Make sure to devote some time each week and on breaks to doing things you love. Whether it's scrapbooking, hiking, baking, sewing, or artistic pursuits, carve out specific times for that activity so that it becomes a regular priority within your busy schedule. You’ll always be glad that you didn’t brush it aside when you see the benefits of making it part of your routine and your life.

Pamper Yourself

You've been working hard this school year and you deserve to treat yourself. Whether it’s a massage, a mani/pedi, or the haircut and color you’ve rescheduled twice because you were too busy, making time to focus solely on you will help you de-stress and be your best self.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Prioritize your time with friends and family. Though everyone juggles busy schedules and work priorities, think about ways to have fun such as game nights, going to the movies, or cooking meals together. Even something simple like drinking hot chocolate and taking a walk can build special memories with the people you love while reducing stress.

Do Something Charitable

Acts of kindness toward others are a great way to de-stress and help put into perspective all we have to be thankful for. Check in your area for volunteer opportunities at local homeless shelters to help serve meals or at food banks to distribute much-needed supplies. Donate gently used clothes, shoes, or socks. Purchase toys and drop them off at participating fire and police stations to distribute to children in need. No matter how you decide to give back, your philanthropy will leave you feeling fulfilled and happy to have helped.

Despite the many stresses teachers face and the temptation to make work a 24/7 commitment, these suggestions to destress as an educator will help you relax, build connections, and find more enjoyment in the classroom.



Author Bio:

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Sara Johnson, Educational Consultant

Sara Johnson, M.S.Ed., is a former elementary school teacher. She joined Teacher Created Materials to help create professional resources and curriculum for students worldwide. After overseeing the Shell Education imprint of TCM for nearly 6 years, she joined the Marketing team, where she supported the department as the educator's voice and led their philanthropic outreach efforts. She is now an educational consultant, supporting teachers through professional development and coaching.

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