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Country Home Teaching | 4 Ways to Control Anxiety at Work

Hello my loves, 

This week I started back to work with my fancy new title of "Specialist Support Practitioner" and "HLTA". I really wasn't ready to go back - who is? But I do welcome to routine as I failed during the summer holiday to stick to any routine - I think I was just so happy to not have to complete any more assignments I kind of rebelled against routine and consistency. It did me good though. 

Starting a brand new routine or going back to one you had previously can throw the best of people, but when you have anxiety it can make that experience so much more tiring with the cycle of adrenaline rushing through your body and then the crashing down when the adrenaline wears off. It's that Fight - Flight - Freeze reaction to situations that we perceive as a threat to us (and our sense of safety).

This past week has brought a reintroduction of my work routine, as I've mentioned I work part time in a primary school, and this year I'm spread across two key stages (year 2- KS1 and year 5- KS2) so with that brings the need for me to use different vocabulary, have different expectations for the pupils and my own performance and role, different relationships with staff and pupils, different struggles for pupils (and myself!) and a whole load more besides. 

I'm not ashamed to say that I've really felt it this week, with the added workplace stress induced problems, friends and colleagues feeling vulnerable due to personal circumstances, I've felt the need to preserve my own mental wellbeing as well as support others with theirs. One thing that you can guarantee working in a school is that things change from one day to the next, and most often throughout the day as well. I'm quite good at adapting to these changes especially so with whether I have to cover lessons last minute, but the changes that come to us from Management can be a bit harder to cope with. My friend and colleague, let's call her 'H' has found this week rather difficult, and no doubt there will be weeks when it's my turn to lean on her. 

'H' has recently been promoted to Assistant Head of Key Stage 1 and this means she's got an increased workload and spends less time in class teaching and has to rely on myself and another staff member 'D' (in fact there's actually three of us 'D' 's working in Key Stage 1), and she's also had some personal news that's understandably upsetting for her. 

So, having had anxiety myself in the past she knew she could come and talk to me and ask me for help. Asking for help is the important thing to do when you feel any form of your mental health and wellbeing is challenged, and it's also often the hardest step - but I honestly encourage you to reach out to someone! 

Some key strategies I've used personally and encouraged my friend & colleague H to use this week, that you can use too included;

. ✔️ Positive self talk - things like 

✨"I'm calm, centred and in control",

✨ "I can handle this, whatever happens, I'll handle it",

✨ "my routine will soon become natural"

✨ "it's all going to be OK"

✔️ Breathing

✨ Breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11 (5/9 can be a great starting place)

✨ Taking five minutes in the toilet to breathe, breathing whilst sitting marking books, typing lesson plans on the laptop

✔️ Talking

✨ Find a friend / colleague in work that you feel safe talking to and who you know won't judge you 

✨ Talk to them about how you're feeling, discuss your struggles, your worries, what's not feeling right

✨ Listen to each other as you will learn about other strategies that may work for you,

✨ Know you're NOT alone - if you're feeling stressed, worried, anxious, overwhelmed or unable to cope - someone else will be feeling the exact same way (my DM box is always open if you want to chat!) 

✔️Be Present

✨ Be present in the moment. If you find your thoughts drifting towards your anxieties whilst your doing a task bring them back to the NOW.

✨ Focus on what's in front of you on the wall, on the desk. Ask yourself questions to enhance your focus such as; 

  • what colour are you wearing?
  • what colour pens are in front of you? 
  • what's the weather like outside? 
  •  who's in the room?
  •  what time is it? 
  • what can you hear?
The idea of asking yourself these questions is to distract yourself from your anxiety and give your brain something else to focus on. It doesn't take away the issue that you're worrying about but it does help you to self-soothe. 

Above is just a pocket full of tools you can implement into your day to help you control your anxiety at work, there are of course many more. Please try them, and reach out and tell someone. You can even reach me on Instagram and send me a DM if you feel talking to someone who doesn't know you will help. There are also professional organisations you can reach out to; Mind UK, Samaritans, and of course, if you feel that anxiety is becoming a life limiting struggle for you - please, please visit your GP because it was honestly the best thing I did when I lost my Auntie to cancer and I wouldn't be half the woman I am now if I'd not asked for help. 

Try these strategies out, and please let me know how you get on. 

Look after yourself lovely, 
Speak soon, 

Dawn-Tracy xxx

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