I don't have time to be stressed!

I was talking to a teacher the other day. She's actually now left the profession after 10 years. Do you want to know why? Burnout!

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She went into education, with a passion and drive to help shape the minds of the future. She very quickly learned that masking the pressure of the day to day was the norm. No one talks about it. It's like fight club, but without the added eye candy of Brad Pitt. The first rule of working in education is "we don't talk about the pressure".

I asked her to tell me a little more about her experience, and I wonder if any of this will resonate with you?

She told me that she had always found it difficult to say no. With that came more and more requests that she felt unable to say no to. She was quickly identified as someone who was expected to do more 'stuff'. Then the cycle began. More and more 'stuff' would be asked of her, and her inability to say no led to; overwhelm, anxiety, not sleeping, feeling wired, brain fog and just general lethargy for the day to day.

She felt like there weren't enough hours in the day, which she described as feeling like 'she was on a hamster wheel'. She couldn't get through all the work, the emails, the admin. She rarely found time to digest all the information coming her way every day, and she certainly never had time to check in with herself. Why would she, she didn't matter - the job at hand was all that she was concerned with.

She could never switch off; lying in bed, thinking of the day ahead, reflecting on the day that had gone, and berating herself for all that she hadn't managed to do. 

She got sick every time she had any time off. She would have a cold or feel under the weather during term time, but she would never dream of letting her students or her team down by being off. She would muddle through, holding on at times by the skin of her teeth, and then when she was finally allowed some downtime - she would collapse into a shattered heap.

She rarely had the time or energy for a social life, and although she had good intentions to do something of an evening for herself, she found herself working soon after her evening meal just to stay afloat for the next day.

She believed in her bones that she wasn't good enough. In the end, her hair fell out, she hadn't slept for months and she has had to spend years rebuilding her shattered self-esteem and confidence.

She didn't know she was important and that she was hurtling towards burnout. No one really does until it bites them on the ar*e. Then you are quite far down the line and not only is your mental health dire, so is your physical health. 

There's a wee saying that I like. If you don't make time for your health, you will one day be forced to make time for your illness.

Does any of this resonate with you? She told me herself, she couldn't see it while she was in it - which is why we are all so passionate here to help people working in education, to identify when pressure tips to stress and what to do about it before it becomes a much bigger issue.

We need you fit and well for the minds of the future!

Here's a freebie from the BYOB subscription video content platform. This is specifically for educational professionals and we hope this helps you start to talk about fight club! 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, G75 0YA
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Written by Nicola Ball
Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, G75 0YA

Nicola Ball is a former stress head and Cognitive Behavioural therapist. I'm on a mission to change the way people normalise stress and to teach people how to find the balance and bring back the joy!

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