How To Cope with Anxiety as a Teacher

It’s time to stop the stigma. Teacher anxiety is at an all-time high, with the demands on teachers ever-increasing. It’s completely normal to have anxiety, and whether or not you are diagnosed with anxiety of have situational moments of anxiousness, it’s important to find how to cope with anxiety as a teacher. Here are some tips to help alleviate anxiety in the high stress job of teaching.

Do you suffer with anxiety as a teacher? Teacher anxiety is at an all-time high, with the demands on teachers ever-increasing. It's important to find how to cope with anxiety as a teacher. Mindfulness and self care tips are given in the post as well as tips to avoid teacher burnout and comparing yourself to other teachers. Here are some tips to help alleviate anxiety in the high stress job of teaching. Teacher self care tips. #teacherblog #teacherburnout

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Don’t compare yourself to other teachers to prevent teacher anxiety.

The biggest mistake you can make as a teacher is comparing yourself to other teachers. Walking up and down the halls, you’ll see other teachers with their Pinterest-inspired, tidy rooms while, perhaps, your bulletin boards are stagnant and plain. This does not make you a great teacher! Don’t focus on appearances. When you like something another teacher is doing in their classroom, ask them how they do it, but don’t feel like you have to do everything to measure up. You’re amazing.

Slow down with mindfulness and meditation to cope with anxiety as a teacher.

Take some time to reflect and meditate. Meditation is for everyone, and you can start at your comfort level. If you look to religion as a way to reflect, take some time for prayer. Emily, a K-5 teacher librarian from Indiana recommends yoga is a cathartic release. Even writing down your ideas to cleanse your racing mind can be helpful in dealing with anxiety.


Recognize and be proactive about burnout to avoid teacher anxiety.

Knowing your triggers to anxiety and burnout can help you avoid burnout and stress. Julia, a 7th grade Science teacher from Nebraska, said that recognizing when she is beginning to get anxious or situations that bring on anxiety makes all the difference. “Knowing your “triggers” is a great way to start coping with anxiety. This helps you acknowledge anxiety stressors and helps you prevent putting yourself in situations where anxiety rules the classroom,” Julia said. “Another big key is awareness of your anxiety. I start to look for signs my body is telling me that I’m anxious; am I sweating? Heart racing, shallow breathing? I acknowledge my anxiety which helps me overcome anxiety attacks and escalations.”

Have a self care routine to keep your anxiety at bay.

Practice self care in a way that works for you. Self care is not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good. In the morning, make sure you get breakfast to start your day right. Give yourself enough time to enjoy your morning without rushing out the door.

Gina, a 7th grade math teacher from Nebraska, recommends starting your morning with a workout. “Working out every morning followed by coffee is my surefire happiness combo,” Gina said.

You can check out some of our favorite time-saving teacher workouts here! (Spoiler alert: my favorite is Jillian Michaels’ Kickbox Fastfix because I can kick and punch away my stress!) 


In the evening, take a relaxing bath with a bath bomb, watch a program you enjoy, or take a bath. Do what works for you, and take some “me” time. Self care can also include spending time with family and friends during your non-teacher hours.

Don’t try to do it all.

There are clubs, committees, bulletin boards, extra-curriculars, social activities, lessons to plan, and papers to grade. Sometimes it’s OK to say “no”. Every lesson doesn’t have to be fit for a teacher of the year. Skipping the Friday Afternoon Club social outing to go home and read a book or hang out with your family is fine! Your students love to see you at their games, concerts, and practices, but if you try to do everything, you will get burnt out. This is when you will feel anxiety as a teacher. Take time for you, and it will make you a better mom, wife, and teacher.

Let go of the guilt.

You are a wonderful teacher, wife, and mom, but you can’t be present in every aspect of your life at the same time. Sometimes that means the mom guilt creeps in. Just say no to teacher mom guilt by understanding you don’t have to do it all. Take a break with some ready-to-go lesson plans and resources to give you more time with your kids and family. This will lessen your teacher anxiety, because you won’t have too much on your plate.

Seek professional help if needed to deal with your teacher anxiety.

Following these tips is not enough for everyone. Anxiety and depression can be caused by chemical imbalances. Medicine and/or therapy can help many people. “Getting help isn’t a sign of weakness,” said Megan, an 8th grade science teacher from Virginia.

Getting help can help lessen anxious and depressed feelings. Some insurance programs even offer some free counseling visits through Employee Assistance Programs. Check with yours. They are always confidential.

Stress and anxiety in the education field is almost a given. When it comes to much to bear, use these tips to find out how to cope with anxiety as a teacher.

6 Comments

  • Thank you for sharing. I feel teacher anxiety is a serious problem. I started feeling this away about 3 years ago. You provided so excellent tips. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • It is a really prevalent problem for so many teachers! I hope these tips help you, Kendra. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Expectations are high, but pay is not. Co-teaching with narcissistic people. Admin who plays favorites. Guilty parents who lash out. No time to do anything. Meetings!! No lunch time. That’s stress.

    Reply
    • I agree with you. It is SO stressful! 🙁 We all have to find our own ways to cope with all of the stress.

      Reply
  • Thank you for this information and please keep them coming! I’m in my 20th year of teaching at a fairly small Catholic school which is primarily african american and I’m caucasion. It’s been the hardest 20 years of my life! It may or may not have anything to do with the nationality of them and me, but it’s all I know. One of my colleagues is african american and she has the same problems that I have. We actually joke that we’re cut from the same cloth!! We have found for a long time now that if we try to use that nice little teacher voice, the kids ignore us! She’s in preschool and latchkey and I teach kindergarten (all 20 years). It’s when we raise our voices that most of the students respond. But then we’re the mean teachers! We can’t win!! But back to my problem whatever is happening to our young children and their lack of respect for teachers is really questioning my teaching ability and I’m facing Teacher BurnOUt!!! My class this year is really irritating and is really trying my nerves!! The other day I was so upset that I literally was crying infront of my class! If I’m not crying then I’m getting mad!! What really stinks is we’re finally getting a brand new built church and school which we’ll be moving into in July or August! But I’m questioning if I even want to move ALL my classroom 1 more time only to quit!! My class has me questioning myself if I should even continue teaching at all!! I know I don’t want to go another school, kids are kids no matter where you go! And the parents could be even worse at other schools! I do LOVE teaching those students who respect me and my wishes and have good behavior. I’ve been working with my doctor to help with my anger issues trying to find the right combination of anti-depressants to help me. Now I pray this won’t go viral or something crazy and teachers yell at me for still teaching, but I do love teaching and I have so much money invested in classroom items, TpT items that I’ve spent my money on everything I buy and furniture pieces that my husband has built for me!! What I’m saying is I need HELP from others that may be dealing with this too! I have so much material and activities that I keep making for class, but then I get anxiety when I try to have small groups/centers!!! HELP!!! Susan

    Reply
    • Hi Susan! First off, I am so sorry you are dealing with so much anxiety and stress! Please know you are NOT alone. So many teachers are feeling the same way. Sometimes I think even that helps… knowing it’s NOT just you. I would try some of the tips from the article (and read the teacher burnout post linked in the article s well). It is crucial to be sure to take care of yourself FIRST because you can not pour from an empty cup. And whatever you decide, if you do decide to leave teaching, there’s nothing wrong with that, either. You need to do what’s best for you! My Facebook group will be launching soon. Feel free to request join here, because it will be a great place to chat with many other teachers who may be in the same boat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/325390458094002/?source_id=1498634520420251

      Sending lots of love your way!!

      Reply

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