Ways to avoid burnout and attain or maintain a healthy work/life balance!
School has started and you are in charge of the school's yearbook! You already see the writing on the wall and know you will be pushed to the limit. Although the adviser position is appealing and enticing, without a doubt burnout will be in the back of your mind as you ponder the days ahead. Self-care will need to be a top priority if you don't want to go down the rabbit hole of stress and fatigue. We have put together these tips to help you relax and refocus throughout the year. You truly can enjoy your role as a yearbook adviser!
As an adviser, you will find it too easy to give so much of yourself away that you end up with nothing left when you leave the classroom.
As an adviser, you will find it too easy to give so much of yourself away that you end up with nothing left when you leave the classroom. This is why maintaining boundaries is crucial to your health. It allows you to live a life outside of your classroom. Value your time and prioritize it accordingly. During your lunch, or prep-period, you may feel the need to continue to work. However, your break time is a gift! It is a time to decompress in the middle of the workday. Accept that gift and allow yourself the few minutes to rest. Even with the best intentions, you may find the workload creeping more and more into your personal time. One day you realize you are continuously working late and you have very little flex time for personal and family schedules and responsibilities. This is not maintaining boundaries, and we all find ourselves facing this battle. As a yearbook adviser, you may be pulled in so many different directions, but part of what you can do is facilitate a place for students to have responsibilities. When you give your students leadership opportunities, this will not only teach them lifelong lessons, but it will take some of the stress away from you. Finally, understand how much energy you’re able to exert and don’t push yourself past those limits. You owe it to yourself to take the rest you need.
KEEP A HEALTHY WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Rest is an important part of a healthy work/life balance. Take a few minutes for a break and go outside to stretch and take in some deep breaths. Or stay inside the classroom, but stand up to stretch and practice deep breathing. Of course, get your yearbook staff to do this with you! You will be re-energized and ready to continue tackling the job at hand. Taking a break is an important thing to model for your students. In addition, express gratitude frequently for their diligent, hard work. Acknowledge the accomplishments of small, behind-the-scenes tasks that often get overlooked. Every little victory adds up to the final goal. Whenever you or your class gets too tied up and busy, stop and speak to that. Some days do get busier than others causing more stress in our personal lives. Talk about this with your students and determine where you can move a deadline back, if necessary. Usually, we are hardest on ourselves, so breathe deeply and give yourself a "self-talk" to lighten up. While "self-talk" does help lighten up the mood, another proven method of de-compressing is to take care of our physical bodies! If we do not take care of our bodies, they won't take care of us. If we ignore our health we are in serious trouble. Simple steps help us avoid illness and accumulated stress.
To begin addressing burnout, prioritize getting enough sleep and rest.
GET ENOUGH REST
We are wholistic beings, meaning the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our bodies all affect each other. If you take care of one part and do not pay attention to the others, it can be detrimental. To begin addressing burnout, prioritize getting enough sleep and rest. Our jobs in the classroom take so much from us emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Yet we have more to give in our personal lives through the family we care about, the children we raise, the relationships we nurture and develop, including the personal goals and hobbies we pursue. The only way to be able to pour ourselves out in all these areas is to get proper rest. Choosing to prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and taking breaks throughout the day will keep us healthy, or we will push ourselves until our bodies shut down.
Participate in activities away from the classroom, whether it is surrounding yourself with nature, or pursuing a creative hobby.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND
While taking care of your body can seem obvious, taking care of your mind is usually pushed to the side and not addressed. Thankfully, today's culture embraces the value of strong mental health and emotional balance to a greater degree by encouraging people to seek help, talk about their problems, and find resources instead of hiding from the truth. But there is much more to be done. To improve your mental health, take time for the things that bring you peace and joy. Participate in activities away from the classroom, whether it is surrounding yourself with nature, or pursuing a creative hobby. Do something that interests you, or find something new: drawing, painting, cooking, sewing, crafting, singing in a choir, reading, joining a book club, traveling, or exploring an area you've never explored. The options are too numerous to count. All of these ideas spark creativity and help spark or develop new ideas for yearbook. Be watchful of the impact of social media on your mind, and its effect on your emotional well-being. A lot of unfiltered input can cause unnecessary emotional stress. Pay attention to your student staff, as they are immersed in social media. Watch for signs that they may be struggling with mental health because of its influence. Taking a break, or having a social media fast, can help reset and release some emotional baggage. As a role model, you can set the example by making a game or challenge for the class to take a break from using social media for a few days. See what happens as a result and share with each other your experiences. Do not shy away from sharing appropriately your mental struggles with your students. You will learn from each other. Similar to taking time for things that give you joy and peace, you can incur a mental reset or rest by listening to music, a podcast, watching an inspiring video, etc. You could ask your students what they like to listen to, or do, to take a mental break, as well as share your personal ideas. Make time to have those few minutes of mental rest inside and outside the classroom.
Physical and mental rest are essential elements of a healthy mind and body. But the one primary avenue to alleviate stress and prevent burnout is exercise. Exercise revitalizes the body! Increasing our oxygen intake to get the heart to pump more blood and to get that blood flowing quickly helps re-energize our mind and our physical responses. Another way to care for our bodies is to drink water. A lot of water! We can easily forget to drink water. To prevent that from happening, keep a large water bottle with you at all times throughout the day. Plus, you can increase your exercise by making more trips to the restroom.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by work that needs to get done, but creating a fixed schedule and rhythm helps ease the feeling of panic.
START A ROUTINE
Finally, having a routine can seem like a small thing to do, but it can go a long way in bringing rest to your body. When you organize a schedule on a day to day basis, there is much less clutter in your mind, and in your life. Simple things like having a time for silence, collaboration, and even brainstorming will give you a creative outlet and keep you on a set schedule. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by work that needs to get done, but creating a fixed schedule and rhythm helps ease the feeling of panic. Your body will feel less tense after recognizing that there is a place for rest and a place for work. Plan your schedule and implement your routine. For creatives, it may feel confining, but quite the opposite happens and you find it releases freedom.
United Yearbook equips you so that you will experience the freedom to creatively teach and mentor your yearbook classes. We offer design software, interactive curriculum, training workshops and resources on multiple topics, for both new and seasoned advisers. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.unitedyearbook.net.
Co-Contributor: Alexis Anderson is an intern as a brand development managing editor for TSE Worldwide Press. She is a senior at Biola University, studying English with an emphasis in writing, along with a minor in Biblical Studies. Alexis aims to inspire others through her words and character.
Co-Contributor: Jessica Carrera, Associate Editor at TSE Worldwide Press, holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing from Biola University. She aspires to touch the lives of others through her words.