The last few weeks of the school year can be stressful juggling last minute tasks while finalising student assessments, reports, and attending end of year events and functions. Below are a few ideas to help you keep calm when managing challenges that can arise at school.
Know how to calm yourself quickly
Remaining calm is one of the most crucial elements of interacting successfully with students and parents. When we are highly emotional (stressed, anxious, or angry) our ability to think rationally is depleted. Remaining calm means you are more able to think of logical solutions to issues, and model appropriate behaviour to your students or their parents. Remaining calm and interacting with students and/or their parents respectfully will also help them to calm down.
The quickest and easiest way to calm down is to breathe slowly and deeply
Breathing in a square is a technique you can teach to students and others as a fast way to calm down. Imagine a square and imagine you are tracing along the sides of the square in a clockwise motion. Starting at the top left-handside of the square, breathe in (for four seconds) along the top of the square, hold your breath (for four seconds) down the side of the square, breathe out (for four seconds) along the bottom of the square, and hold your breath (for four seconds) coming back up the side of the square to the start. Repeat until you feel calm. Like any skill, the more you practise, the quicker the calm will come.
Take a five-minute break at least once a day
During this time you can close your eyes and focus on your breathing, go for a quick walk around the block, listen to your favourite song, meditate, eat a healthy snack, or call a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do, but it must be something that makes you feel relaxed, calm and/or supported. Stick to a short time frame and you will find this is something you can do at least once a day.
The holiday break is a great time to perfect your calming techniques. Consider practising deep abdominal breathing over the hoildays. Have a look at the following resources: Deep abdominal breathing handout, Smiling mind, Universal breathing – Pranayama (free app).
For more on staying calm in the classroom read our free Psych4Schools Looking after yourself ebooklet.