Managing stress: triggers and effects

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Stress is a response to a situation where one feels one is under pressure and fears one may not cope. Often teachers have to function during stressful periods. Recognise the effects and triggers of stress, and find out how to manage your stressed by taking the quiz below.

Stress triggers at school

  • Conflict with another staff member(s)
  • Conflict with a particular learner(s)
  • Lack of safety and security
  • Completing curriculum and formal assessments
  • Marking and reports
  • Changes to school time table
  • Extra-murals
  • Lack of support

Physical effects

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chest pains and rapid heartbeat
  • Frequent colds
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

Psychological effects

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Struggle to relax
  • Depression
  • Sleeping all the time, or inability to fall asleep
  • Nail biting or pacing

Quiz: How stressed are you?
 I am constantly eating
 I am often short with my learners
 I struggle to fall asleep at night
 I have started getting more headaches
 I drink more alcoholic beverages
 I have started smoking, or I am smoking more often
 I feel I have to do everything myself
 My team doesn’t support me
 I just want to sleep on weekends
 I have stopped exercising
 I seldom have time to relax and do things for myself
 I have less time to prepare lessons
 I often complain about not having enough time
 Getting stuck in traffic makes me angry
 I get angry when people do not answer their phones
 I will complain to anyone who will listen about how much I have to do
 I moan often that I am not paid enough money
 My class is getting out of control
 I have panic attacks when I think of everything I still need to do
 I get spontaneous chest pains
 I take my frustrations out on the people in my life

Stress Score Grid

If you ticked 0 – 7 boxes:
Well done, you have established some effective stress coping mechanisms that help you cope with stressful situations. Remember to be mindful and aware of the different triggers that cause you stress. It is important to identify these triggers to prevent unnecessary stress and help you live a balanced life.

If you ticked 8-14 boxes:
You are experiencing a fair amount of situations and triggers that cause you stress in your life. It is important now that you identify what type of stress you are experiencing:

  • Is your stress on-going?
  • Is your stress due to a particular time of the year? (e.g. end of term marking and reports)
  • Is your stress situational or about a relationship?
  • Once identified, you can establish effective ways of preparing for and approaching these stress triggers in your life.

    If you ticked 15-21 boxes:
    You are experiencing a significant amount of stress that is impacting your quality of life. It is essential that you firstly identify what is causing the stress, and secondly, that you establish effective support structures to help you cope with stress. If stress goes unmanaged it can have a damaging effect on your health, both mental and physical. Setting up effective stress coping mechanism doesn’t happen overnight, so remember to always take one day at a time.

     

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