Mental Health Effects of COVID on Teachers
The COVID pandemic disrupted the lives of literally everyone. But without question, certain professions got hit harder than others – and without a doubt, teachers got hit the hardest. Numerous teachers were laid off without notice; the rest were forced to adapt quickly and begin teaching remotely.
While concern about the pandemic has decreased, the mental health affects on teachers remain. As these professionals head back to school this fall, it is important that they recognize they may be feeling stressed and mentally exhausted.
If you are a teacher heading back to the classroom, here are some thing you can do to look out for your own mental health:
Put Your Needs First
Teachers tend to be the kinds of people who always put their students’ – and other people’s – needs first. But now is the time to put your needs first, so you have the energy and mental clarity to give to your students throughout the rest of the year. Ask yourself, “What do I need to feel my best so I can be an effective and supportive teacher?”
Grant Yourself Grace
Everyone has been changed by COVID, and returning to a classroom with a group of students who have spent two years in lockdown is a challenge for even the most zen of folks. Kids aren’t the students they used to be, and you may not be the teacher you once were, either. That’s okay. Expect the transition back to the classroom to take longer, expect to be more triggered by noise, expect bigger behaviors from your students, and allow yourself to be imperfect (and human) in your response to these things. Just as your students are making this tough transition back, so are you – and it’s going to take some time and patience to get back to a version of your teacher-self that feels good.
Talk to Someone
If your feelings of anxiety, depression or burnout don’t subside, even with making some adjustments to your life, then it’s important that you speak to someone. A mental health professional can help you work through the stress and emotions you have dealt with and may be holding on to. They can also provide coping strategies so you may get back to living a joyful life.
If you or someone you know is a teacher whose mental health has been affected by the COVID pandemic, please reach out to Prism or another mental health professional. We would be happy to discuss treatment options with you.