The pandemic has added new challenges to education, causing teachers, parents, and students to pivot their plans and adapt to the new reality of learning. In addition to changing the platform on which teachers educate, mental health issues have been exposed and exacerbated.
Jennifer Weniger, PhD, a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist at Loma Linda University Behavioral Health, says teachers are being hit especially hard, being tasked with supporting students and educating them.
“Teachers are working through challenges both related to the pandemic and the transition to remote learning,” she says. “Many educators are searching for balance, and at times, may neglect their self-care.”
Weniger shares tips, resources and encouragement for teachers:
- Take time for self-care. Carve out time to spend on something you enjoy. Things like journaling or meditation can bring you clarity and comfort.
- Look at the problems as steps toward a solution, and prioritize the most important steps to tackle. This can make the stressors more manageable.
- Stretch your muscles and get your heart rate up. It’s easy to get stuck in a chair for the day when teaching from home, but taking time to move between classes and after school can help your mental health strong.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Practice what you preach to students — be compassionate with yourself, and speak to yourself with kindness and empathy.
- Connect with other teachers. You’re not going through this alone, and you don’t need to take it all on by yourself. There are many resources available for teachers who are looking for support.
“You are making a positive impact on your students and offering them consistency in a time of uncertainty,” Weniger says. “This is more important than you may realize — you are making a positive impact and are appreciated.”
If a mental health condition is causing suffering in your life or the life of someone you care about, visit our behavioral health services website and learn more about how Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center can help. Request information on a diagnosis or treatment or any behavioral health concerns, and one of our intake coordinators will contact you.
If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance