Anyone can experience anxiety. Some of us more than others. But what really sucks, is when it hits us during work. We can’t run. And we can’t go into panic mode, either. We have kids we’re responsible for, after all! Well, here’s some coping mechanisms you can use all day long, even in front of kids.
5 Ways to Calm Your Anxiety That You Can Do During Class
Okay, let me just start by saying I’m not a psychologist. BUT I have dealt with anxiety for a long time. I’ve read a lot about it, and I have talked to many counselors. My therapist even helped me make this list for myself! And I know there are others that deal with it too, so I thought I’d share and maybe help a few of you.
#1 Deep Breaths
This is the #1 thing you can do to help your anxiety in the moment. Deep breaths. Here’s an tutorial on square breathing, which can really help you in the moment. For me, holding my breath seems to help better. I don’t know why, I don’t know if this is even advisable according to medicine. But it works for me.
The best part is that breathing is quiet and not distracting. So you can easily do it anywhere without drawing attention to yourself or making your students wonder what’s going on.
I don’t care if it’s on your lesson plan. Coloring is a great way to take a quick break and relax for a moment. Make time for it when you need it. It’s great because it’s totally acceptable and encouraged in the classroom. Your students and coworkers will have no idea you’re taking a mental health break.
You can read more about why coloring works as a coping mechanism here. But basically, all you have to do is give it try. You’ll see – it helps!
#3 Dance Party
Are you a dancer? Do you like to get your groove on? I know my kids do! Even if I’m not in the mood, there’s something about a good song that just helps you to loosen up and let your guard down. Plus, moving around a bit is good for your mind and body, too.
So go ahead and put on a tune – your kids will love a brain break too!
You might need to plan ahead a little bit for this one if you’re worried about your clothes being inappropriate or the floor being dirty. But you can even grab some yoga cards like these to have handy when you need a stretch.
Since yoga combines physical activity with deep breathing, it’s the perfect way to relax. It also helps your students get some energy out and calm down too when they need to focus. Win – win.
Say what? Actually, cleaning and organizing helps you feel in control. So when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, taking a few minutes to organize your desk or to-do list can actually bring back some feelings of control and ease that anxiety.
A quick task could be to clear your desktop, sweep the floor, scrub the marker spots from tables, throw away broken or dried up supplies, or organize the pretend center. You can give your student something to do to occupy them during this time, or encourage them to clean out their own spaces (desks, cubbies, book bags) and get everyone feeling refreshed.
I know, the post clearly says 5 ways to cope with anxiety. But I have another: get help.
I’m not joking, and I’m not judging. Anxiety and depression are real things. They’re not a lack of faith, sleep, or positive thinking. The combination of therapy and drugs has the best chance of success. So if you suffer from either of these, please seek help.
I wish I had gotten help sooner than I had because I felt ashamed. And I missed out on so much of the joy of my son’s first year because of these diseases. If you need a listening ear, shoot me an email. But if you need meds or therapy, don’t wait. Do it now and quit suffering alone.