Categories: First Year Teacher, New Teachers, Teacher Self-Care

The Secret to Getting Out of Teacher Burnout With Brittany Blackwell

Getting out of teacher burnout is no small task. Ever since the pandemic, teacher burnout has been on the rise. And you might be feeling like:

  • You’re not just burned out professionally but you feel burned out in your personal life too
  • You feel like you have a lack of boundaries and like you have lost your identity outside of teaching and even motherhood
  • You’re constantly tired and fatigue and may feel like you have a short fuse
  • Maybe you are tired of putting on the mask and want to find out who you are again

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. This week I spoke to Brittany Blackwell, the CEO of Teaching Mind Body and Soul and we discussed her journey on getting out of teacher burnout.

So if you are ready to get out of teacher burnout once and for all, grab a coffee and let’s make it become reality!

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    The Secret to Getting out of Teacher Burnout with Founder of Teaching Mind Body and Soul Brittany Blackwell, M.Ed
    Helena (00:02): Hey, there teacher besties. I have an amazing guest with me. Her name is Brittany, and I am so excited to get started. So, Brittany, welcome to the Present Teacher podcast. Go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself. Brittany Blackwell (00:14): Well, I just wanna say thank you, Helena, for having me on the podcast, but my name is Brittany Blackwell. I am a classroom teacher. I am a special educator, and I have been in education for 11 years. Um, I am a previous special education coordinator, which I loved. But, um, I actually returned back to the classroom after my first daughter was born because I was working way too much and I needed to focus on my family. Um, a little bit about me, my husband and I have five kids together, so I am all about simplification, reducing overwhelm in any aspect, because if I didn’t I’d probably go crazy . (00:57): Um, but I, um, I dealt with a lot of heavy burnout, like personally, professionally. Um, I did extensive research about self-care, personal and professional growth, all of that stress management. Um, and I actually began teaching teachers how to reduce that overwhelm. Um, and as we entered the pandemic, um, I started sharing tips, tricks, all those sorts of things on, um, TikTok. And what I found was there were a lot of teachers that were leaving the profession, and it really kind of struck a nerve with me because they were a lot of really, really good teachers, like really passionate educators. And I could think I’ve been, I’ve been through that. I have totally lost myself to teaching before. And so I really started shifting my focus and started teaching educators everything that I researched from, um, stress, burnout, simplification boundaries, all that fun stuff that really isn’t discussed in teacher prep programs with my agency, teaching mind, body, and soul. And then I began my podcast, um, the Resilient Teacher Podcast in the summer of 2022 to reach and support more educators. So now that’s what I do. I am a teacher resilience and retention strategist, and I help encourage and inspire overwhelmed teachers, leaders, schools, districts to prioritize mental health and individualized resilience in burnout, recovery. Helena (02:29): All of that is so amazing. A little backstory. Brittany actually invited me to be in one of my first conferences. It was summer self-care conference. And you guys, the energy she has and the passion for creating or preventing burnout for other teachers is just so inspiring. I just had to have her on here. So thank you so much, Brittany, for being a part of this because yes, honestly, you’re one of the big reasons why the present teacher is here. So honored to have you. Oh, Brittany Blackwell (02:55): That’s so cool. . Helena (02:57): Um, so here on the present teacher, we like to talk about specifically our first years of teaching. I’ve kind of talked about my first year of teaching, but what was your experience like when you first walked into the classroom? Brittany Blackwell (03:09): When I first walked into the classroom, I actually started out as a kindergarten teacher. I quickly found out really fast that that was not my jam. Um, I was made for middle school and high school . That’s just what I was made for. And so that first year was really difficult for me. Um, it would probably be on a scale of one to 10, like 10 being the best, one being the worst, it was probably a three. Um, I felt very unprepared. I didn’t really know what I was in for. I actually subbed before I took my position, and I actually took my position mid-year. Um, so they added another class. I became the new kindergarten teacher and I was super overwhelmed. Um, I thought that I had to have everything in like a big binder. Like I thought I had to document everything. And then I was like, what do I do with these kids? (04:04): There’s kids with snot and, and poop and I don’t know what to do, . So I was just, I was really overwhelmed. Um, but that year was the year that I was like, Hmm, I don’t, I don’t think this age is right for me. Um, and so I actually went back and got my master’s degree in special education and I really wanted to just be able to reach all of the learners in my classroom. Like what I found was I only knew, you know, I only knew how to teach midway. I didn’t know how to teach my lower learners and I didn’t know how to, to reach those high achievers. And so I went back and got endorsed in gifted and talented and, um, got my special education certification and then I ended up doing something completely different, which was coordinating. Um, so that was more my speed. But yeah, that first year I was a doozy . Helena (05:02): It’s funny, I actually taught kinder my first year too. I think it’s a right of passage. . Yeah, Brittany Blackwell (05:07): , I think it might be. Helena (05:10): Um, so I noticed you said that you would rate the overall experience at three. What was the hardest thing you would say about that first year that made you feel overwhelmed? Brittany Blackwell (05:18): I think just not being prepared. I feel like teacher prep programs don’t, they, they give you this kind of like, very standardized way of this is how you’ve gotta run a classroom. These are the classroom management strategies, all of these different things that make sense in general, but may not work or make sense to you as an individual. And so for me, it was not being prepared to be authentically myself in the classroom. I felt like I was having to be another person in order to show up in my classroom and do what good teachers do. Um, so that was probably why the experience was not so great for me because I didn’t feel like I was prepared to be myself. Helena (06:10): Yeah. How would you say you overcame that? Like, at what point did you realize that you could be authentically yourself as a teacher? Brittany Blackwell (06:18): Um, I think that that happened probably, I would say about five years ago, . Um, I taught for about six years before I even started to realize that I didn’t even know who I was as a person anymore. Um, because I had gotten sucked into this idea of, well, good teachers, they look like this, they sound like this, they act like this. And so I didn’t wear my nose ring. I hid my tattoos. I used this very, I know this sounds weird, but I used this really cookie cutter voice that wasn’t me. Like, it just, it wasn’t me. And the kids knew that because I was not having those relationships with the kids that I have now, like it now that they know me and how I am, and I know me, um, I’m way, it’s way easier to make those connections, make those relationships. Not only with my students, but my colleagues. Um, really everybody in the school now knows. Okay. Like, that’s Brittany. But before that, it was just like this idea that I had to be a certain way and that just really didn’t work for me. Helena (07:36): Yeah. What do you feel like was a pressure or what caused you to feel like you couldn’t be authentically you in the classroom? Brittany Blackwell (07:44): I think just the outside pressure of, I just realized I didn’t answer your question before . No, Helena (07:54): You’re fine. I like where this is going. Keep going. No. Brittany Blackwell (07:57): Uh, like, I think that, what was your question? Sorry. Because I got stuck that I didn’t answer that one. Helena (08:03): , what makes you feel like you couldn’t be authentically you? Like what was the outside pressure causing you to feel like you couldn’t be authentically yourself in the classroom? Brittany Blackwell (08:13): I think it was just the outside pressure of people in general. Pe the way that people see teachers. Um, the way that even in my teacher prep program, um, they would say things like, well, you’ve gotta take your nose ring out. Like, I had my nose ring for since I was 16 years old. You know, it was just me. Um, and I, you have to dress a certain way. The things that they told me in the teacher prep program set me up to believe, oh, this is the way that it is. Even going through my student teaching, like what I think about it, I’m like, huh. All of the teachers that I worked with in my student teaching were a very particular type of teacher. Um, not to say that that’s bad, that’s them, you know, but I put on myself this belief from hearing it from my professors or hearing it from other people outside. (09:03): You know, teachers don’t do that. Teachers don’t do that. So when I saw this type of teacher, I thought, oh, that’s what I have to be, to be a good teacher. And the fact of the matter is that really did not, that wasn’t for me. But it’s also not for everyone else either. Like, you don’t have to be a specific type of teacher in order to be effective, in order to make growth in your classroom, in order to, you know, grow as an educator. You have to be yourself. You have to be who you are authentically. And I did that personally by just learning about myself, taking that time to really, okay, what do I like? I went to a therapist, um, when I was in like severe burnout. I went to a therapist and she was like, tell me about yourself. And I was like, okay, I’m a teacher and a mom. (09:57): Like, I literally had no other thing to say about myself because I didn’t know. I had no idea. I’m, she’s like, well, what hobbies do you have? Hobbies? Hmm. Um, , momming and teaching. Like, I don’t know. And I feel like that’s again, another piece that teachers and teacher prep programs, they don’t really focus on that they don’t focus on. Well figure out what you like, what do you like about teaching? What do you think you’re gonna like about teaching? What do you want to enjoy about teaching? What is your favorite thing to do when it comes to these classes where we have to do classroom management and making these lesson plans? Which one’s your favorite? Oh, you like making creative lesson plans? Well, that’s gonna be like what you wanna focus on. You wanna focus on getting your energy from that because you have to have something that’s going to energize you and such a very difficult, um, teaching profession, you know? Helena (10:58): Yes, absolutely. I a hundred percent agree with you about the authenticity. For example, I had my nose ring and I had bright red hair mm-hmm. . And as soon as I got my teaching, um, job, my first one, I dyed it to Brown because that’s what everyone does. And yeah, I agree that it feels like we can’t be authentically us when we first walk in mm-hmm. . It’s definitely a journey. Yeah. Why did you start teaching? I like asking this question and seeing if I am similar as to why you started teaching in the first place. Brittany Blackwell (11:28): That’s a really good question, , because what I started doing was I, for, from the time I was little until I got to college, I said I was gonna be a lawyer. I was gonna be an attorney. That’s what I was gonna do. I was gonna be a politician. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna go to Harvard Law School. That is what I’m doing. I watched way too much legally, blonde and . Then I got to college and I realized, this is really boring, and this is really, I at the time was like, this is not me, you know? And what I did was I started working in a, um, an afterschool program, and I started working with kids, and I was like, wow. Like I really enjoy hanging out with kids and actually getting to help them, like to watch that little spark that they have. (12:20): Like when they get something, when they finally get something, it like lights me up. And really to this day, that still happens that way. Like, but it happens even more like than before because now I’m teaching teachers and I can see that happen with teachers too. You know, like, I can see that light bulb moment go off where they’re like, ding, ding, ding. Like, this is, this is what I’m supposed to be doing, or this is how you do it. And that feeling to me that I helped somebody to reach that point is amazing to me. Like, I, I love that feeling. Helena (12:58): Yeah. The teacher, that spark is everything that light in their eyes. Mm-hmm. , I feel the same way. Brittany Blackwell (13:03): Mm-hmm. . Helena (13:04): So can you name a time that you first felt burnout? Or do you remember, recall the first time that you realized, okay, Mamie, when I’m facing is burnout? Brittany Blackwell (13:15): Oh, well, probably about the time, see what happened with me was that I wasn’t just burned out professionally. I was, but I was also burned out personally. And I think that sometimes they can either be like comorbid where they’re happening together or one causes the other. And I can’t really tell you which one it was. Um, because I had lost my la I had a lack of boundaries. I didn’t, I had lost my identity. I was constantly tired, exhausted, fatigued, and anybody could have told me, you know, oh, well you feel that way because you’re a new mom. Like, I had my first daughter and then second daughter, my second daughter, that’s when it happened, um, where I was just at the end of my rope. Um, I was also going through a divorce. Um, and that year, as luck would have it, like I had the most challenging class that I’ve ever had. (14:16): They were amazing kids, but I, they were so challenging and I felt like I didn’t have the energy to give them, like, I could not come up with anything. I, I couldn’t, my fuse was short. Um, I wasn’t acting like myself. Like, I couldn’t put on that face. That was when I realized like, hey, I need to be a little bit more authentic because I couldn’t put on that face, I couldn’t put on that mask where I was like that teacher. And it was like this realization in that therapy appointment that I had that it was like, I really need to get to know who I am. Like what do I stand for? What do I like? What do I, what am I good at? What am I not really good at? And how can I use my strengths to kind of overcome that? And really just the knowledge or the self-awareness that I was dealing with all of these things all at one time. It was like, th something’s gotta change and it’s gotta be me because it can’t be everything else. Like everything else is going to crap. No, no, no, no . Something’s going on internally that I need to fix. Helena (15:31): Yeah, absolutely. So in the moment when you’re looking and realizing that it’s myself and I need to start falling in love with myself again, what were some of the boundaries, I heard you say boundaries, some of the boundaries that you felt like you weren’t honoring, and what did that feel like for you? Brittany Blackwell (15:48): So the boundaries that I didn’t have were, I felt like I, because I like that spark, I guess. Um, and that’s just a new realization that I just had right now. But I was very codependent on if I can’t fix this person’s problem. So for instance, I’m special ed teacher, so if my student is really struggling with something and I can’t help them, then I felt terrible about it. I felt like I was worthless. I wasn’t doing what I was put here to do. And so one of the boundaries that I had to put up was that all of these things about this is, this is an emotional boundary, but like all of these things about somebody else have nothing to do with me. And so if their feelings about themself or their struggles are starting to impact me, then I need to step away and come back when I’m cleared out. (16:47): Um, that’s just an emotional boundary that I had to set. Um, and that, that really, honestly, that also impacted my previous marriage. Like, I thought that I had to fix the problems when it wasn’t my problems to fix. Um, I could totally be a supporter in that moment, but I couldn’t fix those problems. Um, another boundary that I had to set was I was constantly, like, as a new mom, I was after school all the time. I had left my position as a, um, special education coordinator because I wanted more time with my family, yet I was still staying after school, coming in early, um, just to get the things done that I needed to get done, or I thought that I needed to get done. And so I had to set it up where, no, now it’s four o’clock every day I leave, whatever doesn’t get done, just doesn’t get done. (17:39): And later I actually came up with ways to automate and, and simplify what I was doing in the classroom so that they didn’t take up that much, much time that I did have the time that I needed to take in order to get some of those things done that I felt like I needed to. But just that time boundary was another one. Um, and then the other boundary that I set during that time period was, um, not letting people’s opinions of me get the best of me. Um, because I, again, like I’ve said it probably a hundred times during this podcast, but I, I lost myself. Like I didn’t know who I was because I was trying to be what everybody else wanted me to be or how I thought everybody wanted me to be. And so I had to put boundaries on what people’s opinions were and what I allowed them to say to me about me. Like, if you’re not going to say something positive or like a positive criticism, like I need to do A, B, or C, what do you think about that kind of thing, that’s okay, I’m okay with that, but when you’re telling me I need to do this, it’s like, hmm, no, I need to, I need to tell you. No, that’s just not for me. Thank you though. You know, like just not necessarily a negative or mean way of saying it. Just no , no. Helena (19:05): That’s such a hard skill to learn too, saying no. Mm-hmm. , I don’t know about you, but that one takes the longest. I feel that confidence. Brittany Blackwell (19:12): Yeah. Um, Helena (19:13): A lot of gold things here and I mean, oh, we could talk for hours. Um, I heard you say about a time boundary as far as leaving work on time. You had some tips. If I was a first year teacher or I was just walking into the classroom and I’m starting to realize like, look, I have my identity as a mom or a family member and I have my identity as a teacher, but I need to start creating this time boundary. What’s like the first step you would take if you were to go back? Brittany Blackwell (19:43): If I were to go back, the first step that I would take is I would figure out what I would time block first. I would see in my day what times I have. And so some people have, you know, like only one short little planning period, that sort of thing. And really cramming all of that really doesn’t make a lot of sense, but creating a system for that. So what works for me is I have specific days of the week that I do specific tasks. And that makes sense to me because that, the way that my day is set up now, it may not be set up like that for everybody, but for me it is. And I have two planning periods, which is like golden fabulous, amazing. And I’m so thankful for that. Um, but one of those is a lunch. And I typically don’t take a whole 45 minutes to eat lunch. (20:36): So 15 minutes, eat lunch, 30 minutes here, here’s what I’m doing right now. Um, and over time that every Monday I am, you know, checking for any out of date IEPs or when new IEP is due, um, or on Fridays, I lesson plan just makes sense to me because then I don’t have any time to sit there and Pinterest for hours. Um, cuz I would do that and . So really just time blocking and then figuring out a system that works best for trying to get all those things done. But realizing that you’re the to-do list is never going to end. It’s always gonna be there. There’s never going to be a moment where you’re like, I am completely done. No, that’s not gonna happen. , Helena (21:24): I agree with the Pinterest thing. I used to do the same thing. Brittany Blackwell (21:27): Yes. Hours, hours on Pinterest. Helena (21:29): Yes. And I think I, you know, I completely agree with you setting an intentional schedule. Mm-hmm. , it can be the difference between staying hours and being productive or maximizing your time a little more. Brittany Blackwell (21:41): Yeah. So Helena (21:42): In that moment when you realized that you didn’t know yourself and you wanted to start taking action, what was the first thing you started doing? What was the first step you took towards that journey? Brittany Blackwell (21:53): Going to therapy. Um, having somebody who was a non-biased person. I, I feel like sometimes people think that therapy is such a, like, it’s so, it’s so taboo in some, in some places and sometimes, and so it feels like a weakness that you’re going to a therapist. But in all reality it was like in those sessions that I would have with her, she wasn’t really doing anything. She was asking me questions and I was becoming aware. I was realizing these things about myself or about the situation and it was like little light bulb moment. She would just ask me questions. She was never telling me anything to do. , um, which I have now. I’ve had a therapist that’s told me what to do, but at that point in time she was just asking me questions and then I started journaling and really kind of getting to the root of why I felt the way that I did, like what was working and what wasn’t for me personally. (22:58): And just taking that journey and self-discovery for me really allowed me to see a lot of the strengths that I had, um, that I wasn’t really using. Um, which I think is another big part of why I was burned out too. Um, not just overextending myself or trying to people please and all of that, but not allowing myself to flow naturally what my gifts were, what my, what my strengths were. Um, and really recognizing those was pretty powerful for me. Um, but journaling for me was just a, a big thing that I did and it evolved over time. So originally it was like me asking myself questions about myself or writing things that were not working or were working and then it kind of like transformed into this, what’s my game plan? Like, what do I want this to look like? And then I started like vision casting or vision planning, um, which I talk a lot about like on my podcast and um, I have a whole freebie for it. But that was like one of the things, it was like, wow, what do I want this to look like? What, what am I doing this for? And really connecting with those pieces of myself changed the whole trajectory of me teaching. Helena (24:21): Wow. That’s powerful. So, um, make sure to give me that freebie and I will put it in the show notes. Brittany Blackwell (24:27): Yeah, absolutely. Helena (24:29): For those of us that don’t know in general what vision planning and vision casting is, could you give like a quick summary of what it is? Brittany Blackwell (24:38): Yeah. So vision planning is basically, so I don’t like the idea so much of setting goals. Um, I like to reframe them because our brain typically, um, sees them as a threat. Um, if, if we’ve said, oh, we’re gonna set this goal or we’re gonna set this New Year’s resolution, right? Our brain sees it as a threat and it sends off a stress response at our bodies and I don’t want that. So and, and kind of taking it a different direction. Vision planning is where you’re looking at what you want it to look like. What do you want out of a situation? What do you want your life to look like? Um, and really becoming hyper-focused and hyper aware of what it is that you are going for without making it sound so much like a goal, but more as a vision. So that when you, like I have my vision board on my phone, I also have a different vision board on my laptop and they’re like cues to my brain that really remind me why I’m doing the things that I’m doing on my phone. Like it’s my kids, my family. It also has like, don’t wait for an opportunity. Create it like different things like that that really remind me every time I pick it up or every time I open a laptop, these are the things that you’re working for. This is what you want to do or this is how you want to feel. Because feeling is a huge piece of actually getting out and doing that action. Right. Helena (26:11): Wow, that’s powerful. So what’s some results that you’ve seen? Has this changed your life in teaching or in your personal life? What are some of the transformations you’ve seen? Brittany Blackwell (26:20): Yeah, so in my personal life, this is a really weird story, but I’m gonna tell it anyways. Um, so when I began journaling and vision planning, I didn’t know my husband at the time. This is gonna sound really weird, um, but it’s also really true. So I, in July of 2020, I wrote a journal entry and it was basically saying everything that I wanted in a relationship. Um, I, I was divorced, I had two kids and I knew it didn’t work right, , I know exactly what didn’t work, but I didn’t wanna focus on all of the negative things. If you focus on all of the negative things, you’re just gonna stay stuck in a pattern of negativity. So I wrote it as if I’d already, I was already with the love of my life, I wrote down everything, literally everything that I could think of that I would want as it, as it if, as if it had already happened. (27:18): So my husband was going to be loving, caring, funny. Um, he was like, I’ve showed it to my husband now cuz now I have this husband and it’s that person. Um, but I did that in like all different aspects. It wasn’t just in relationships. I did it with like starting a business, um, changing my business. Cause actually I had a business, but I changed it into being more actionable content for teachers. Um, and, and with my teaching, like I now have like on my school laptop, I have a vision board that has all of the things that I’m working towards with teaching. What it’s reminding me of is I know I, everybody hates this phrase right now, but my why, why am I doing this? Why am I waking up every morning and going to school and teaching these kids? Why am I doing that? And so it’s different pictures, different quotes, different things like that that really remind me of why I’m doing what I’m doing. So even in those really tough moments, I have that to look at. Helena (28:25): That’s powerful. I’m really glad you shared that story about your husband. I actually did something similar. I shared a story or really with my dad what I wanted my future husband to be like. And I married Kyle, so here we are. Brittany Blackwell (28:38): . Yes. I love that. That just gave me go Helena (28:41): . Yep. So not weird at all. I’m right there with you. Um, so a lot of good things here. If I were a teacher who’s like, you know what, I think I’m right there with you, or how you used to feel, I’m feeling burned out. What would you recommend the first steps or some actionable tips they could do? Brittany Blackwell (29:01): Yeah, so one of the first things that I would recommend is I would say that I don’t believe that, you know, burnout prevention or burnout recovery is a one size fits all thing. Um, what works for one person may not really work for another person. And to be honest, that’s why I created my signature framework for burnout, recovery and resilience. And I call it the individualized ed care framework. Um, because I believe that every teacher is unique. We all have different strengths, different weaknesses, different preferences. So giving these one size fits all strategies and things like that really aren’t going to help support educators. So inside the framework, um, there’s six stages and steps that we go over to really help and find what works for us as individuals so that we’re not overextending ourselves so that we are not getting completely stressed out. So the first step, um, is really evaluation. (29:56): And I’m not gonna go into every step here, but the first thing I would recommend is discover our why or the triggers for our current stress or our unique burnout cycle. Um, so this means taking like 15 minutes, making a list of all the things this year, the semester, or even like just the last month or week that really stressed us out and really getting clear about that, thinking about the things that you’re really stressed considering for the upcoming year. Even don’t limit these things though to like school situations because as you heard from my story, , like oftentimes our out of work experiences can impact our burnout at work as well. Um, so you can add any specific emotions to the list, you can categorize them into similar situations, but really the purpose of this exercise is just to make yourself aware of all the things that may have previously or you anticipate caused you to not in your stress cycle or perpetuate that stress cycle. (31:01): And once we kind of have those root causes, which I’m gonna be honest, like there can be a whole lot, um, we can then begin to kind of look deeper and take action that can mitigate that stress from those specific causes. The second thing that I would recommend is to develop healthy coping mechanisms. And I go way more in depth like in my actual framework, but to kind of give something actionable you can do today, the most important development that you can make is just to develop a healthy coping mechanism to manage that stress and prevent that burnout. Um, this can include exercise, meditation, deep breathing, other exercises that really help you to relax, activate that parasympathetic nervous system and really reduce your stress levels. So all of those things that set us, set our bodies up for appropriately processing that stress that is negatively impacting us. (31:57): Um, and then the third thing is to look back from that evaluation, that recognition of your stressors and start setting those boundaries. Boundaries are super important for preventing burnout and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. And this can include just setting those limits on work hours, delegating tasks, saying no to unnecessary commitments. Um, all of those types of things. I can tell you this though, the absolute number one thing that is not going to get somebody outta burnout is telling themselves that it’s just gonna be okay. That’s really not gonna cut it. And I’ve always hated it when people would say, well, just don’t think think that or just remind yourself it’s gonna be okay. You know, there’s a reason that that doesn’t work. The fact is that really completing the stress cycle is not a, it’s not an intellectual decision. Um, it’s really a physiological shift. Like we don’t have to tell our lungs to keep breathing. We don’t have to tell our stomach to digest food. You know, our body’s gonna do what it wants to do. So you can’t really get out of burnout or complete the stress cycle through deliberate choice. You have to give your body what it needs to complete it in order to do what it’s designed to do. Helena (33:16): Yeah. That I feel like when you just tell yourself everything’s gonna be okay, it’s almost like invalidating how you’re feeling. Yes. Not honoring it. And then you wonder why later it comes back up for you. Yes. But he is charged of this actually. So Brittany Blackwell (33:30): Yes. Helena (33:31): Going back to the awareness phase, what, what are some questions we can ask ourselves to kind of, you know, get ourselves thinking what’s causing us stress? So if I were to like journal, what are some prompts I could think about or start journaling on? Brittany Blackwell (33:46): So there’s three main prompts that I recommend everybody to do first starting out. Um, the first one is to think about what exactly your stressors are. Like what is stressing you out? Like label all of them. Is it your family? That’s okay. I mean, honestly, things like that can stress you out. Um, really just making a list of everything that’s stressing you out and then what you’re doing about it. Like what are you doing about it right now? Are you just hoping that it’ll go away? Are you Netflix and chilling because you’re like, oh this is, this is gonna just all go away on its own. That’s called disassociating and that’s not gonna work. Um, and then the third thing is to like, ask yourself what you could do to help with your family situation. Like for me lately, um, I’m just being honest, my family is kind of stressing me out. (34:40): We have a lot of kids and a lot of kids doing a whole bunch of different things and it’s the holidays. And so even yesterday I took out my notebook. I’m like, okay, what is not working right now? What is not working well, it’s not working is these kids . These kids are constantly pulling out toys and they’re never putting them away. So what can I do? Like, what am I doing right now? Well, I’m just hoping that they’ll figure it out that all these toys are all over the floor, right? And that’s not working. So what can I do going forward? Well, I’m actually gonna create a system in my, like how I do with teaching now in my house. And every day at a certain time, my kids are gonna know this is the time that we’re cleaning up our toys. We’re getting all of these things up so that they have that they have that routine ready for them, right? (35:32): We do this in our classrooms all the time, but it’s hard to do at home. Um, and then they’ll know that, I’ll know that I’ll feel better about it. There won’t be minute toys on the floor and eventually it may be difficult at first, but eventually it’ll just become part of the routine and then that won’t be a problem anymore. You could do the same thing with like journaling. If you’re not really a journaler and you’re like, okay, well she’s talking about journaling, she’s talking about doing these things. What can you, what can I do differently? Well create just a 10 minute time every day. Block it out in your calendar, 10 minutes today, this is what I’m doing, and try it for two weeks. It may not do anything, but then again it might change everything. You know, Helena (36:17): I love that it may not do anything, but it may change everything. Mm-hmm. , I feel like there’s this, I don’t wanna say stigma, but people feel like self-care and wellness is all like a, you try something and it works, but I feel like a lot of people don’t talk about how it’s kind of just one big experiment. Brittany Blackwell (36:37): It is, it is one big experiment. Like, and you know, there’s this negative connotation around self-care lately. Like somebody I, I’ve even said it too, like you can’t self-care your way outta burnout. No you can’t. But you can regulate your nervous system and regulating your nervous system is half the battle and actually making progress towards burnout recovery. Um, and like for me, I tried 512 different things and different things worked at different times for me. But when I created a system that actually would allow me to evaluate, okay, what’s gonna work for me right now? Like that, this kind of, the whole purpose of my, my framework was I was like, you know what, nobody knows what they’re supposed to do. You get this self-care menu at a, at a professional development and they’re like, yeah, go do some self-care. You know, and you do ’em and you don’t feel any better. (37:32): You know, cuz you’re adding more to your plate. You’re not really taking things off of your plate in order to make room for yourself. Um, number two, you don’t really know until you know, your personality type, your values, your vision, all of those different things. You don’t really know what’s gonna work for you in that moment. And so what worked for you 10 years ago or five years ago or one year ago, may not be what you need in this current moment. And that’s okay. It’s okay to change things up. It’s okay to, you know, try something new even if it sounds kind of kooky or weird, you know, just to see, you know, over two weeks, over a month, does this work for me? Oh crap, it does. Look at that. You know? Helena (38:15): Yeah. I feel like it’s definitely a journey, not a destination. It’s not like one day your life is magically fixed and everything’s rainbows and butterflies. It’s very Brittany Blackwell (38:22): Absolutely Helena (38:23): Like a journey of falling in love with yourself again. At least that’s how Brittany Blackwell (38:26): I see it. Yeah, I agree. Like that you can’t, it’s not a destination. It’s like that. Um, it’s like that Buddhist quote about happiness. Like happiness is not like a de it’s not what you will have. You won’t have this special moment where everything from that point on is happy. You’re gonna have these s and flows and you kind of have to just recognize, hey, this is, this is the season that we’re in. Next season will be better or I’m gonna change things up and this is how I’m gonna change for next season to be Helena (39:00): Better. Yeah. So if I was a teacher who is contemplating going to therapy, what would you tell me if I was on the fence about it? Maybe I’m a little nervous about therapy and how the whole process is. Brittany Blackwell (39:14): Well, nowadays it is super easy to get therapy, um, because now they have online therapists. And while that seems weird, it’s let, especially for us in our generation or new teachers coming in, they’ve done this. They, they did classes on Zoom. They’ve, they are, they’re aware of technology and how it works. Um, there’s this website called Headspace, and I actually have like a, a code for that that I can send to you that you can give to your, um, your subscribers. But it’s amazing because you don’t ever have to worry about when it’s gonna fit into your schedule. You don’t have to worry about, you know, well there’s gonna be this commute time to and from my therapist office. Or even if you have therapists near you nowadays, it is kind of difficult to get in to a therapist, like in person. And so sometimes it’s just easier to have that person that’s online. (40:10): Um, but going to a therapist is not as scary as it sounds. It, it’s not a, it’s not somebody judging you about what you’re doing or what you’re not doing. Like the whole idea of that profession. Think about it. Like if that teacher, or if that therapist is a teacher, like they got into that profession because they wanted to help people. They wanted to help people change their mental health, fix their issues, or, you know, really come up with a plan that’s gonna work for them. And when you change your mindset about what a therapist is to like, how you see yourself as a teacher, a teacher may have gotten a teaching because they wanted to help kids, right? Like, I don’t know any teacher that would’ve gotten into teaching for any other reason. Uh, but really changing your mindset about going and seeing a therapist is kind of crucial in doing that. But nowadays it’s so easy to get into a therapist because there ha they, there are online therapists. Helena (41:14): Yeah, I agree with you. And I know when I first started going to therapy too, there was, like you said, the stigma or it’s taboo and it’s this bad thing. It’s not, it’s so eye-opening. Yes. And a lot of the times it’s just them saying exactly what, you know, it’s just bringing it to that surface. Mm-hmm. . So I agree, if you are thinking of it, definitely highly recommend. Um, and if you have had bad experiences, I don’t know if you’ve had a bad experience, but there may have been, you know, people you didn’t click with, try to find someone else because yeah, there’s definitely someone out there for you that’s gonna help you change your life. Yes. So, um, if I were a first year teacher, um, or I, yeah. If I were a first year teacher, what would you recommend I focus on in 2023? Brittany Blackwell (42:02): Um, the number one thing that I would recommend focusing on in 2023 is getting clear about your boundaries. Like really, like, just going hard on the boundaries. Like really just being aware of your energy boundaries, your time boundaries, all of these different things so that you can kind of boundary work not only kind of helps you get out of burnout, but it also prevents burnout. You know, like if you’re really focused on okay, this one section of your life and you set a boundary there, it’s like it can’t get past it, right? And really learning to just say no when somebody asks you to do something or to say, Hmm, let me think about that and I’ll get back with you if you’re really not sure. Give it that, um, that 24 hour period where you’re allowing yourself to kind of assess are you available for that? Do you have the capacity for that? Do you, you know, if somebody’s asking you to do something, you don’t wanna just immediately say, yes, yes, I can do that. Sure, I can do that. Um, you wanna give yourself that time to be like, Hmm, do I have the time? Do I have the energy? And then kind of respond accordingly. You know what I mean? Helena (43:19): Yeah, absolutely. If I wanted to learn more about your six step framework, where would I go? Brittany Blackwell (43:26): So, um, you can find me. I love connecting with other educators, especially those who are like overwhelmed looking for ways to kind of break the cycle of burnout, really reignite their passion for teaching. So if the listeners wanna learn more from me, you can find me on Instagram. I am at Teaching Mind, body and Soul or TikTok at Miss Princess Teach. Um, but I also have my podcast, the Resilient Teacher Podcast. And, um, my individualized educa program, if you catch it, it’s i e p, like how we do for our students . But that is also on my website, the te um, at teaching Mind body and Um, my podcast, the Resilient Teacher Podcast, I really wanted to change the narrative around resiliency because I felt like that was getting like a really bad rap. Um, and it was using, it was being used to like gaslight teachers into not recognizing what’s kind of wrong with our system. (44:18): So I, you know, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, well, you need to be more resilient in some like, really crappy situations. So the goal of my podcast is really to remind teachers that they are already resilient and lead them into making the change that we need to see in the system of education because it’s kind of broken. And the podcast is also for overwhelmed educators who wanna get the support, the tools, the mindset to reduce teacher burnout and keep teaching sustainable. Um, and I have a new episode go live every Tuesday, and I go in between with like how-to types and burnout, recovery expert interviews. I talk all about the six step framework all on there. Um, so yeah, if there’s any teachers out there who are struggling with stress burnout, just overall sustaining their career, um, DM me, come hang out with me seriously. Like, I like to chat with other teachers about burnout, their journey, all that good stuff Helena (45:15): We do here too. Awesome. Well I’ll get all those links from you and I will put ’em in the show notes as well. So go ahead and look down below with you, our listener, and you wanna connect with Brittany. Brittany, thank you so much for joining us. It was a pleasure to have you and I definitely learned a lot. Yes. And I know the listeners did too. Brittany Blackwell (45:32): Yes. Thank you so much for having me. Helena (45:35): Of course.
    Find out the secret to getting out of teacher burnout with Brittany Blackwell!

    Connect with Brittany Blackwell:

    Recognize that Getting Out of Teacher Burnout Isn’t a One Size Fits All

    One of the first things we might be tempted to do, is google strategies on how to get out of teacher burnout. While yes, you can find helpful strategies on the internet, not all strategies work for each person.

    That’s why it’s so important to find a framework that’s unique to you. All teachers are just as unique as our students. That’s why following a framework and implementing the strategies that works for you is a sure way of getting out of teacher burnout.

    Download the Free Ultimate Self-Care Guide For Teachers

    Download 40 Self-Care Ideas For Teachers that you can do in 5 minutes or less now by hitting “Download.”

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      This includes:

      • 40 Self-Care Ideas for Teachers that take 5 minutes or less
      • Habit checker to check off how many days in a row you complete a task.
      • A reflective page for notes.

      Evaluating Your Situation

      After you recognize that getting out of burnout isn’t going to be a cookie cutter process, you will want to evaluate your specific situation. Brittany Blackwell recommends discovering your “why” in order to keep your priorities in line. One way you can accomplish this is through vision planning (grab Brittany’s free guide by clicking here!).

      Another strategy she recommends is uncovering your current triggers that are leading you to feel stressed. You can uncover this through journaling or speaking to a counselor. Another important thing to point out is you want to pinpoint your specific teacher burnout cycle.

      How does burnout come up for you and what phase of that cycle are you in. All of these are important aspects to building that awareness phase of getting out of teacher burnout.

      This quote is from this week's podcast episode where Brittany Blackwell shares the secret to getting out of teacher burnout as a first year teacher.

      Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms 

      Now that you have identified different triggers, it’s important to take action so that getting out of teacher burnout becomes that much easier. One way to do this is to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

      Brittany recommends coming up with a habit that will help minimize stress. This could be exercise, deep breathing, journaling, meditating. All of these are great coping mechanisms that are a huge asset to getting out of teacher burnout.

      Look Back at Your Stressors and Create Boundaries

      In order to stay out of burnout, you need to put systems in place to prevent it from happening again. One way to accomplish this is to incorporate boundaries. Some examples of these boundaries include setting work hours, delegating or saying “no” to doing certain tasks, or agreeing to unnecessary commitments. 


      Overall, it is vital to take intentional steps to completing the stress cycle if you are looking at getting out of teacher burnout. 

      As Brittany says:

      “The absolute number one thing that is NOT going to get somebody out of burnout is telling themselves ‘it will all just be okay.’”

      Brittany Blackwell

      She continues to say that the Stress Cycle isn’t a psychological choice but a physiological one. And if you are looking at getting out of teacher burnout once and for all, recognizing your pattern, and creating boundaries to support you is going to be your best chance.

      So, I want to ask you, what steps are you going to take to get out of burnout? 

      Categories: First Year Teacher, New Teachers, Teacher Self-Care

      First Year Teaching: 7 Strategies to Avoid Teacher Burnout

      As a first-year teacher, it can be hard to avoid teacher burnout.

      Have you ever spaced out and then realized you were spacing out so you snapped yourself out of it? What about driving? Have you ever gotten in the car, started driving, and then before you know it, you’re at your destination crossing your fingers, hope you obeyed all the laws because you’re suddenly at your destination and you don’t remember how you got there. 

      This is a lot like what burnout can feel like. And as a new teacher with a demanding workload, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and burned out. Learning coping strategies early on can help you manage your feelings of burnout and start your year off with enthusiasm and energy.

      Here are 7 tips that will help you avoid teacher burnout once and for all.

      So grab that cup of coffee, and let’s get to it!

      Hey New Teachers!

      Make this your best year yet with the Ultimate First Year Teacher Checklist!

      Download the guide that walks you through everything you get done this year a success. (Oh and it’s completely free!)

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        Listen to the podcast:

        First Year Teaching: 7 Strategies to Avoid Teacher Burnout
        (00:00): And by the end of the day, you go to bed and you have no idea what you did that day because like I said, you are on autopilot. If this sounds like you, then I wanna let you know the whole reason I started the present teacher was because this was me too. Hey, teacher bestie. My name’s Helena and I’m the creator of the President Teacher podcast. I’m a first year teacher coach, and in this podcast you are gonna learn everything from simple actual classroom management, socialist learning, and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you wanna make in the classroom. Well, we’re gonna make it happen here. (00:40): Have you ever spaced out and then realized you were spacing out so you snapped yourself out of it? What about driving? Have you ever gotten in the car, started driving, and then before you know it, you’re at your destination crossing your fingers, hope you obeyed all the laws because you’re suddenly at your destination and you don’t remember how you got there. What about literally going through the emotions on a day-to-day basis because you’re so emotionally and mentally exhausted that you just go on autopilot, you wake up and you start your day and you are just not there. So you check out mentally and by the end of the day you go to bed and you have no idea what you did that day because like I said, you are on autopilot. If this sounds like you, then I wanna let you know the whole reason I started the present teacher was because this was me too. (01:31): You see, my first year of teaching, I found myself so emotionally exhausted by the end of the day that I would go on autopilot and I would scroll social media when I’d get home, and by the end of the day I would wonder where my life was going. I desired to be present and mindful in the moment, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to get out of that exhaustion so that I could show up mindfully and actually enjoy life. And after years of research counseling and talking to other teachers around the world, I realized what I was actually dealing with was burnout. In this episode, I’m gonna talk about the seven steps to avoid and get out of burnout. So myself, I’ve helped myself and thousands of educators around the world avoid and get out of burnout, and you can do the same for you too. (02:21): So stick around and listen to each step because they will build off each other and you can definitely feel when you are missing one of those steps. So don’t forget to do each step as we talk about them. The first step to preventing or getting out of burnout is to figure out where you are at. So this is called the awareness phase and building that awareness. So you can do this by reflecting in your journal or out loud or with a trained professional, but let’s figure out where you are at in the world. So I’m gonna give you a scenario. So imagine I put you in a helicopter and I drop you off in the middle of nowhere and I don’t tell you you what country you’re in, where the nearest civilization is, and I tell you to meet me there in a week. Could you figure it out? (03:07): All right, now let’s do a different scenario where I put you in a helicopter, I drop you in the middle of nowhere, but this time I give you a map and your location. Can you meet me in the nearest destination of the nearest town? Now, probably a lot easier with the second scenario, right? Well, that’s exactly what awareness is. It’s figuring out where you are at in your journey or figuring out where you are on the map. We can’t figure out how we wanna get better without figuring out first where we’re starting, right? The same goes with our kids. We wouldn’t try to figure out where we wanna take them by the end of the school year without first assessing them at the beginning of the year. It’s the same thing. So here’s some questions you can think about when it comes to building that awareness and figuring out where you’re at in your journey right now. (03:57): The first one being, how is life going right now? I know that’s a loaded question, but you don’t have to answer this out loud to me. Take some time to reflect that on your journal and then what is going well for me? What are some things that I can improve on? What are some things I can keep or adjust? All of these are super important for getting a clear picture of where you are at in your awareness phase. Step number two, transform your mindset. Have you ever had a student who performed really, really well in person? They always did the activities, like got a hundred percent on their assignments, but as soon as they started a test, they would get inside their own head and tell them that they’re gonna fail and then they bomb the test. It’s the same thing with our mindset here. (04:43): We need to talk about the difference between abundance and scarcity mindset. So abundance mindset is that growth mindset. It’s that mindset where there’s enough of everything to go around where scarcity mindset is the idea that there’s not enough to go around. So for example, maybe a thought could be, I don’t have enough time. Um, I’m not good enough, I’m not a good teacher. I need to do this to be a good teacher. All of these are examples of a scarcity mindset. What we need to do once we’ve built that awareness phase is we now need to transform our mindset from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. So let’s use the scenario where the student bombs the test because they’re telling themselves during the test that I’m really bad at math. Let’s reframe that into an affirmation and transform their mindset every time they wanna self-talk and tell themselves that they are bad at math. (05:36): Instead, they tell themselves, I am amazing at math. I’m gonna ace this test. Their performance is gonna be a lot different based on how they’re talking to themselves. And the same goes for teachers. Whenever you catch yourself saying something negative to yourself, try to reframe that into an affirmation. This might have a lot to do with imposter syndrome and this might be something that you have to constantly work at, but this is something that’s a journey, not a destin or is a journey not a destination. So don’t focus too much on always having to reprogram your mindset. I still do, and many experts are still constantly reworking this. Another way to transform your mindset is to focus on gratitude. Every morning I like to write down three things I am grateful for and that transforms my life from a scarcity mindset to abundance mindset. Instead of focusing on the things I don’t have yet and the things I don’t have or am not doing yet I am focusing and putting my energy towards the things that are in my life that I’m grateful for. (06:42): Therefore, more positive things are coming my way. So focusing on gratitude is another great way to transform or reset your mindset. The third thing you can do is to prioritize your life. Step number three, prioritize your life. So I think we’ve all heard the experiment with the cup and the sand by Steven Covey. If not, I’ll kind of give you a rundown right now. But imagine that you have this jar and inside of it you fill it with sand, and then after the sand you fill it with pebbles and then after with big boulders. Well, what happens when you do it in that order is that the jar will overflow and you can’t put the lid on. But let’s say on the other side, you start with the big boulders first and then you start putting in the smaller pebbles and then you put in the sand and then the water, then you close the lid. (07:36): You’re gonna be able to fill in more into your life by doing that. The same thing goes for our priorities, and Steven Covey does a great job talking about this in seven habits of highly effective people. I’ll make sure to put a link in the show notes as well. But you wanna prioritize your life and focus on the big boulders first. So take some time and think about what are the major things that I wanna prioritize in my life? Go ahead and list them and then ask yourself, is my life right now reflecting that? And if it is, great, if it’s not, what can I do to change my life to show that what I’m prioritizing in my life is important to me and it is how I want my life to be prioritized and make sure to keep that in front of you. I literally have a list of priorities I set in my life and I keep it on my desk that way whenever there’s a time when my priorities are being questioned. (08:31): So if I’m asked, can I stay two hours late after work, I can look at that priority list and be remind myself, you know what? My family comes before my job. I apologize. I am not able to. I have a previous arrangement or a different priority at this time. That’s a great way to keep yourself um, accountable and to keep your priorities in your life in front of you. Step number four is to establish routines and systems. So your routines and systems should really help your priorities in life and it should help support your priorities and goals in your life. So some routines and systems you can start creating is a morning routine. When you start off your day having an amazing morning, you’re really setting yourself up to have an amazing day. Let me know if you can relate to this, but have you ever had one of the hardest mornings of your life and then you walk into your classroom and then it seems like the kids can just sense the negativity from that morning and they just exploded all day. (09:31): The same goes for having a great morning routine. I can’t tell you how life changing it’s been as a teacher to have a morning routine. That’s cha, that’s started my day on the right foot and therefore my kids have a better day. So creating a morning routine is one example on a system or routine you can start for yourself and that’s a great way to take care of you. The next one being leaving work on time. I know a lot of teachers struggle with this and I have some resources to help you, but leaving work on time can be such a hard thing because you have priorities, your boundaries and all mixing in to that you need to be accountable with. But when you have these priorities and systems in place, you wanna have them working so well that they’re on autopilot because when things are on autopilot, they don’t take energy from you. (10:23): They’re just a habit like brushing your teeth. It doesn’t take energy anymore for me to brush my teeth because I just naturally do it. The same goes for our systems and routines and here on the present teacher, I love talking about creating these I am. I could go on and on about creating systems and routines. So if you need more help with that, I will put some resources down below. But like I said, creating those routines and systems really make it so it’s a habit and you don’t have to think about it. And at the end of the day, the last thing we wanna think about are these things. So create ’em in two days. So they’re natural, so you don’t have to think about ’em will save you energy in the long run. Step number five is to be a friend. An honor with five. (11:07): Part of the awareness phase that we talked about in step one is to check in with yourself weekly, if not daily or several times a day, and ask yourself what you need right now and how you are feeling. So how can you take better care of yourself or how you take care of yourself is going to reflect how you care for others. I learned this the hard way because I thought that if I would focus on myself as a first year teacher, I was going to be selfish. I thought time spent on me was wasted, that I could have spent on others. And I thought, you know what? I will just be great at taking care of others and I will put myself on the back burner. But what I realized was how I was truly helping others when I wasn’t in my prime health, when I wasn’t taking care of myself, I wasn’t able to help others as I impactfully or as deeply as when I was being a friend to myself. (12:01): So make sure to ask yourself throughout the day, this is an important practice to incorporate. Ask yourself what you need, uh, throughout the day and then honor that and take the five minutes to follow through. So for example, if right now I feel like what I need is to just journal for five minutes, I’m gonna make sure to prioritize those five minutes and do be a good friend to myself and take those five minutes. Maybe it’s to sit five minutes in silence or blaring your favorite music before you walk in and you switch from teacher, teacher hat to parent hat. Take those five minutes that you need in order to be a friend to yourself and to help you take care of others even more deeply and impactfully throughout your day. You won’t regret it if you need ideas on how you can start taking care of yourself in those five minute increments. (12:54): I do have the 40 self-care ideas that take five minutes or less, and I will make sure to put that in the show notes as well or the link down below so you can grab that. Step number six is to practice being mindful in the moment. So remember when I talked about how it can feel like you’re on autopilot and you suddenly wake up and then you realize that where has my life gone? Everything’s just passed and I wasn’t here for a single moment of it. I learned this the hard way. My whole day was like that. And the thing about mindfulness is it’s like a muscle. I get stronger with practice. So I didn’t know how to be in the moment anymore after spending so much time on autopilot because I was just trying to survive. So what my counselor told me and what other resources and researchers and other teachers and just experience in general, the first thing you wanna do is to start a little at a time and eventually you’re gonna build up to each day. (13:51): So pick one thing that you can do and do it mindfully instead of autopilot. And this could be walking from class to class, maybe it’s eating or breakfast, drinking or coffee. Um, doing chores for some reason that really works. For mine, it was vacuuming when I first started. If I would just mindfully focus on vacuuming on the weekend, I was able to reprogram my brain to go from autopilot to mindfully in the moment. What this does and why this is so important, and this is the whole reason for the present teacher, is to allow, sorry, it allows you to live your life to the fullest and it makes life sweet. I don’t know about you, but when you’re on autopilot, you’re just not living to the same extent and it’s just not as fulfilling. So learning to be back in the moment is so important. (14:42): Step number seven is to get ahead. I know a lot of teachers struggle with this and it’s really hard to figure out how to mainstream your systems and processes to get ahead, but when you’re able to do this, what you’re actually doing is able to get more done and less time. And one way to do this is to batch your days. So I know I’ve talked about this before, but for example, batching is doing like-minded tasks within the same group. That way you’re not task with task switching. So on average it takes seven or 21 minutes to refocus on a task once you get distracted. That’s why it’s so important to keep your like-minded task together and to do the same thing over and over again per day. So think of Henry Ford and the factory line. It’s the same thing. So what how I incorporate this into my days is I actually theme my days. (15:37): So on Mondays I’m writing lesson plans, I’m writing lesson plans, not only for the upcoming week, but I like to go two, three weeks out. So I’m doing lesson plans for two or three weeks. That way I’m two or three weeks ahead and I’m not feeling like I’m on this hamster wheel of, you know, lesson planning, creating content or creating resources and parent letters and communication. I am two or three weeks out so I don’t have to feel like I’m drowning and just trying to get above water each time. So on Monday I like to work on lesson plans. Tuesdays I like to print out all my materials. Wednesdays I work on parent communication. Thursday is grades and data. And then Friday I like to make a makeup day in case I miss anything. But by doing two or three weeks at a time and batching your days and themeing them, so you’re doing one thing consistently all day makes it so you get more done and less time and it gets you ahead. (16:36): If you follow these seven steps, you’re gonna be able to transform your life from being spaced out to mindfully thriving in and outside of the classroom. And my question to you for this episode is what do you do to get out of teacher burnout? I have a teacher friend who is gonna be on the next podcast episode. You guys are going to love her, who is gonna share her thoughts on this question, but make sure if you are on my email list to respond to my email and let me know so I can feature you on the next email. Make sure to subscribe and give this podcast a review. I would love to hear your thoughts on this podcast, what you love about it, what I could do to make it better. Remember teacher bestie, we are stronger together and I am always here for you. I will talk to you in the next episode. And with all the love, Helena, a k a, the present teacher. Bye teacher bestie. (17:30): Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode. I hope that you were able to take away some value that will help you thrive inside and outta the classroom. It would mean the world to me. If you could take five seconds right now and leave a review on this podcast. And if you found this podcast especially helpful, make sure to take a screenshot of this episode right now and tag me on your socials to let me know you’re listening. As always, remember that we are stronger together with all the love in the world. Helena a k a, the present teacher. See you next time. Teacher bestie.

        Subscribe to the Podcast:

        Take time for yourself

        The first way to avoid teacher burnout as a first year teacher is to take time for yourself. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is a top priority as a teacher. You can do this by scheduling down time into your day, whether that’s grabbing lunch with a colleague or sitting in silence during your prep period. Make sure you get adequate sleep and physical activity – all of these things can help reduce stress and fatigue. 

        If you need some ideas on how to take time for yourself, checkout these 40 Self-Care Ideas that take 5 Minutes or less!

        Set clear boundaries

        One of the best things any first-year teacher can do is set clear boundaries between work and home. Your job can be all-consuming, especially with the start of a new school year. Give yourself time off that’s unconnected to lesson preparation and grading so you can maintain proper balance. This may mean taking time each day or week to devote to your family, hobbies, or anything that brings you joy outside of teaching. With clear boundaries, it’s a lot easier to avoid teacher burnout.

        As a first year teacher, it can be hard to avoid burnout. Check out these 7 strategies to avoid teacher burnout.

        Establish routines

        Maintaining certain routines throughout the school year can be a great way to avoid teacher burnout. Establish routines for yourself during the day and prioritize tasks that need to be done, as well as leave time for rest. This will help you stay on top of things and keep from feeling overwhelmed with more tasks than you have time for. Additionally, maintain regular office hours so you have time to connect with students without feeling like your job follows you home every night. If you want to learn more about leaving work on time, click here!

        Leaving work on time as a first year teacher is no small task. Check out this leaving work on time for busy first year teachers program.

        Prepare Ahead of Time

        As a first year teacher, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out by the amount of lesson planning that is required. To avoid this, try to plan ahead and create as many lessons as you can during the summer months before school starts. This will help reduce stress when the school year begins and give you more free time during the year to relax or pursue other projects or hobbies.

        Nourish Your Body and Soul

        Don’t neglect your mental and physical health in the pursuit of an effective classroom experience. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to recharge, get some fresh air, and step away from your desk. Eating healthy, nutritious meals can also help reduce stress and give you the energy you need to make it through every day with a smile on your face. Taking time out for yourself is important—be sure to treat yourself occasionally so that you don’t experience burnout!

        Take 5 minutes for yourself

        It’s extremely to be a friend to yourself if you’re looking to avoid teacher burnout. One great way to do this is to take 5 minutes for yourself each day. One thing about life is it’s one great experiment. You don’t have to have it all figured out yet. Just pick one thing and try it for 5 minutes. If you need ideas check out the Ultimate Self-Care Guide!


        Overall there are several different ways you can avoid teacher burnout. Just remember that:

        Categories: Uncategorized

        How Teacher Self-Care Can Benefit Students

        “Children learn and imitate behaviors by watching and listening to others.” –Kylie Rymanowicz

        It’s no surprise then that your students are learning how to love themselves by watching how you love yourself.

        In my first year of teaching, I shied away from self-love and self-care because I feared that it was selfish. 

        I felt like self-care meant that you were cocky, narcissistic, and selfish. 

        Little did I know, however, that by not prioritizing self-care my students suffered.

        If this sounds like something you have experienced then you are not alone.

        In an industry where we are expected to serve, it is easy for teachers to prioritize others over themselves. 

        But today we are going to cover how incorporating self-care can benefit your students.

        In this article we will discuss:

        • What is teacher self-care?
        • Why is teacher self-care important?
        • How teacher self-care can benefit your students

        So grab that cup of coffee and let’s get started!

        What is Self-Care?

        Before we talk about teacher self-care ideas for back to school, we need to get super clear on what self-care is. 

        Self-Care is the action of preserving or improving one’s health. 

        In other words, it is prioritizing your health first so that you can better preserve your energy and perform better as a teacher. 

        It’s the ability to make habits that make sure all the different aspects of your health are taken care of. 

        However, what many people don’t know is that there are four different kinds of self-care. These include physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual self-care.

        I talk all about the different kinds of self-care in the article “The Ultimate Guide of Self-Care for Teachers.” So if you want to learn more, click here to read it now. 

        Self-care is a healthy habit that helps you maintain an optimal state of health.

        Now that we have discussed what self-care is, let’s talk about why it is important.

        Why is Self-Care Important?

        There are many reasons why teacher self-care is so important!

        For instance, did you know that 45% of teachers claim to work more than 50 hours a week?

        With that in mind, it’s no wonder that 4 in 10 teachers are leaving the profession in the first 5 years. 

        Hence why self-care is so important!

        To have a fulfilling life as a teacher, you need to prioritize your health first.

        Otherwise, you will continue to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to quit the profession you so desperately love. 

        Prioritizing your self-care will also help you:

        • Keep burnout at bay.
        • Stay energized throughout the day with clarity.
        • Model to other teachers that prioritizing your self-care is okay and should be done.
        • Help create a movement where teachers take back control of their lives in a way that helps better serve education.

        And this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more click here to read more about the importance of self-care in my last article. 

        How Teacher Self-Care Can Benefit Students

        Now that you know what self-care is and why it is important let’s talk about how teacher self-care can benefit students. 

        Show Up Energized

        One of the ways teacher self-care can benefit students is that it allows you to show up to work energized and ready to go.

        If you have ever neglected your self-care, you might recall feeling frazzled, burned out, and exhausted.

        However, after maintaining your self-care habits, teachers feel energized and refreshed at the beginning of the day.

        This is extremely important when it comes to teaching because students can sense when they feel overwhelmed.

        Plus if you have ever had a “bad day” and that same day your students had a “bad day,” then you might note how students feed off of your emotions.

        No matter how great you are at faking it, oftentimes students can sense when something is wrong.

        Hence the importance of self-care and showing up each day energized and renewed. 

        Trust me, this is a benefit for both you, and your students!

        Be the Teacher You Knew You Could Be

        At the end of my first year of teaching, it felt like I had blinked and the year was over.

        That summer after some much-needed rest I reflected on my teaching the previous year. This is when I realized that I hadn’t been the teacher I always knew I could be because I was constantly overwhelmed.

        With inconsistent boundaries and priorities, it’s no wonder that many teachers end the year defeated and just trying to survive.

        By incorporating consistent and effective self-care, however, you are cutting down on the overwhelm and burnout.

        This means you can show up each day enthused and be the authentic engaging teacher you always knew you could be. 

        Students benefit when we show up as our authentic selves as opposed to a burned-out teacher on autopilot. 

        This is why showing up as our authentic self is one of the ways students can benefit from teacher self-care.

        Model Boundaries and Priorities for Students

        Another way that teacher self-care benefits students is it is an opportunity for teachers to model healthy boundaries and priorities.

        As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, students learn about themselves by watching how others interact with them.

        It’s no surprise then that students will learn how to set boundaries and priorities by watching other adults and their priorities and boundaries.

        As a teacher, we cannot control the home-life of our students.

        Some students will have amazing parents who model exceptional boundaries and priorities.

        While others may have families who struggle with setting consistent boundaries and priorities.

        Either way, by modeling consistent boundaries and priorities, you are ensuring that your students have an adult in their life who advocates for healthy well-being.

        This provides students with some tools they will need to prioritize for the rest of their lives.

        Model Self-Love for Students

        The next way how teacher self-care can benefit students is by modeling self-love to students. 

        It’s no secret that self-care is an act of self-love.

        You are prioritizing yourself, being in intune with your needs, and advocating for your boundaries.

        That’s why it is so important to incorporate self-care in the classroom for your students to see.

        When you are open with your students on how you love yourself in and out of the classroom, you are showing them that self-love is needed and accepted.

        Students might then implement self-love in their daily lives by watching how they love themselves. 


        The final way that teacher self-care can benefit students is the idea of mindfulness.

        When you are taking the time to love yourself and prioritize yourself, then you are cutting through the noise and preventing overwhelm.

        When you are less overwhelmed you can show up mindfully.

        Mindful as in the present and the moment.

        Students need us to be mindful in the classroom so that we can listen to them. 

        When we are mindful, we are opening a safe space in our hearts for our students.

        A place where they will feel seen and heard.

        And that is one of the best gifts a teacher can give to their students. 


        Thank you so much for reading to the end!

        As a review, in this post we discussed:

        • What self-care is
        • Why self-care is important
        • How Teacher self-care can benefit students

        I hope this post was the message you needed to hear and reminded you that self-care is not selfish. 

        It is so beneficial to our students in so many ways. By incorporating self-care, you are influencing a future generation full of self-love.

        Thank you so much for reading, and before you go I want to invite you to join our community.

        Here at the Present Teacher, we strive to help educators who:

        • Are tired of getting burned out
        • Can’t be consistent with their self-care plan
        • Don’t have the time for their self-care
        • Have a hard time making boundaries and priorities during the school year
        • Want to impact future generations by prioritizing their self-care by modeling it to our students

        So if this sounds like you, then I want to invite you to get on the waitlist for our Self-Care Membership.

        In this membership, you will join a community of educators that strive for consistency in their self-care habits while also holding each other accountable.

        Click here if you are interested, and I can’t wait to see you there.

        Happy Teaching!

        The Present Teacher

        Categories: Uncategorized

        How to Be Consistent with Self-Care During Back To School

        So you incorporated self-care over the summer and got consistent with incorporating it into your summer schedule.

        But now with back to school right around the corner, you can’t seem to find the time or be consistent with your self-care goals.

        Hi, my name is Helena Hains and I am a Self-Care Coach. I help teachers create an authentic self-care plan that doesn’t take a lot of time.

        I believe teachers need to prioritize their self-care before serving their students. 

        Today we are going to discuss how teachers can be consistent with self-care during the back-to-school season. 

        We are also going to cover:

        • What being consistent with self-care during back to school looks like
        • How to be consistent with self-care during back to school

        So if this sounds like something you are interested in grab that cup of coffee and let’s get started!

        What Being Consistent with Self-Care During Back to School Looks Like

        Before we talk about how to be consistent with self-care during back-to-school, we need to figure out what this might look like.

        Starting with what is consistency?

        Consistency is taking small, incremental steps to make a certain action a habit.

        In other words, it’s the little steps you do to make something easier.

        For example, one way to be consistent with journaling every morning could be:

        • Buying a journal
        • Having it open every day for you to write in
        • Setting an alarm on your phone

        According to Healthline, it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit. 

        It can be easy to understand then why so many teachers struggle to make a self-care goal a habit.

        Being consistent with self-care looks like doing the same thing for a while to the point where it becomes automatic.

        For instance, a consistent physical self-care habit someone might have is to go walking every morning before work.

        Now that we know what consistency is and how it relates to self-care, let’s talk about how you can become consistent with self-care this back-to-school season.

        How to Be Consistent with Self-Care During Back to School

        Being consistent with self-care during back-to-school can be one of the hardest things for teachers when it comes to self-care. 

        Especially during back-to-school season.

        You’re busy planning, decorating, prepping, welcoming students, communicating with parents, etc. It’s no wonder that teachers throw self-care out the window during back-to-school.

        But that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are 5 strategies to be consistent with self-care this back-to-school season.

        Measurable Goals

        The first way to be consistent with self-care during back to school is to get super clear on your goals.

        Much like writing objectives at the end of the lesson, you need to write yourself measurable goals that help align you to your outcome.

        Inspired by Michael Hyatt’s book “Your Best Year Ever,” you want to make these goals measurable.

        For instance, creating the goal “to drink more water” is not measurable and there is no clear way to figure out if you reached that goal.

        You could drink more water for one day or week, but would that mean you reached your goal?

        Instead, try creating the goal:

        “I will drink 12 cups of water every day by 8 pm consistently for 365 days before December 31st.”

        This goal is measurable, tells you how often, how much and when you wish to reach that goal.

        By creating clear, measurable goals you can be more consistent with them because you are clear on the actions needed to reach those goals. 

        Write it Down

        Another way to be consistent with self-care this school year is to write your self-care goals down.

        An article by CNBC stated that “Participants who wrote down their goals achieved those desires at a significantly higher level than those who didn’t. She found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down daily.”

        Hence why writing things down is so important.

        So if you want to be more consistent with self-care during back school write down your goals. 


        It can be easy for teachers to neglect their self-care when they are overwhelmed with work.

        Oftentimes teachers may find themselves working long past contract hours into the night. 

        That’s why one way you can ensure that you are consistent with your self-care goals is to set an alarm on your phone. 

        For example, every day after school I have an alarm that goes off that reminds me to read. 

        This reminds me that I should stop working and start reading my book. 

        When you give yourself visual reminders, you are ensuring that you won’t forget to do something. 

        This is also a great reminder to leave work every day or to start prioritizing your family if that is one of your goals. 


        Another way to be consistent with self-care during back-to-school is to make a game out of it. 

        Gamification is the action of applying typical actions of game playing to something.

        Also mentioned in “Your Best Year Ever” you can use a tracker to track the progress of how often you reached your goal.

        For instance, I can put an X on a box after every day that I drank 12 cups of water. 

        The longer I am consistent with this the longer my streak will be. Hence the less likely I will want to break it.

        Much like the tracking used by Fit Bit’s or Apple Watches, gamification is a great way to track your progress and be consistent. 


        The final way to be consistent with self-care during back-to-school is to find some form of accountability.

        One example of this would be if you wanted to leave work every day by 4 pm.

        Find a teacher friend that has the same goal and keep each other accountable.

        That way you can remind them to leave on time and vise versa. 

        Habits are easier to be consistent with together that’s why accountability is a great way to be consistent with self-care during back to school.


        You made it through all the ways to be consistent with self-care during back to school. 

        As a recap, in this article we talked about:

        • What being consistent with self-care during back to school looks like
        • How to be consistent with self-care during back to school

        If you want to learn more about how to be consistent with your self-care goals join the Teacher Self-Care Membership!

        This membership is perfect for you if:

        • You are a teacher who feels exhausted, emotionally drained, or experiencing burnout.
        • You want to prioritize your self-care.
        • You want to set goals, priorities, or boundaries in the workplace.

        If this sounds like something you are interested in joining the waitlist to get notified when the doors open by clicking here.

        Happy Teaching!

        The Present Teacher

        Categories: Uncategorized

        9 Astonishing Teacher Self-Care Ideas for Back to School

        So it’s that overwhelming time of year that many teachers know as… Back to School.

        It’s that time of year where teachers come back from summer break and start decorating, organizing, planning, and eventually welcoming their new students for the year.

        In the midst of all that chaos it can be hard to remember about incorporating self-care.

        So that’s why today we are going to tackle some teacher self-care ideas for back to school.

        In this post we are going to cover:

        • What is self-care?
        • Why is self-care important?
        • 9 teacher self-care ideas for back to school

        So grab that coffee and let’s get started!

        Read more
        Categories: Teacher Self-Care

        Do You Know Why Teachers Struggle With Making Priorities?

        It’s no surprise that many teachers struggle with making priorities.

        You want to make an impact in the classroom, and show up for your family in a meaningful way.

        But figuring out the boundaries between the two can be difficult.

        When I was a first-year teacher, I was constantly bringing work home.

        So much so that by the time the year ended, I felt like I had neglected my family and felt exhausted.

        I wasn’t able to effectively prioritize the items on my to-do list, so I always felt like I was drowning in work. 

        I also had a hard time prioritizing things in my home life over my job.

        If this sounds like you, you are not alone.

        In fact, 4 in 10 teachers quit the profession in the first 5 years because of the work conditions.

        So today we are going to talk about why teachers struggle with making priorities and how to fix that. 

        We are going to cover:

        • What are priorities?
        • Why are priorities important?
        • Why do so many teachers struggle with making priorities?

        So let’s get started!

        Download the Free Ultimate Self-Care Guide For Teachers

        Get this Ultimate Self-Care List for Teachers that includes 40 ideas of self-care that you can incorporate into your day in 5 minutes or less.

        Download now by hitting “Download” down below!

          You can unsubscribe at any time.

          What are Priorities?

          According to, “A priority is the concern, interest or desire that comes before all others.”

          In other words, priorities are the things that you hold of value or concern above everything else.

          Some examples of priorities are:

          • Family
          • Work
          • Students
          • Friendships
          • Health
          • Home
          • Relationships
          • Hobbies
          • Religion

          Priorities are the things that you find more urgent or important than other things. 

          Download the Free Ultimate Self-Care Guide For Teachers

          Download 40 Self-Care Ideas For Teachers that you can do in 5 minutes or less now by hitting “Download.”

            You can unsubscribe at any time.

            This includes:

            • 40 Self-Care Ideas for Teachers that take 5 minutes or less
            • Habit checker to check off how many days in a row you complete a task.
            • A reflective page for notes.

            Why are Priorities Important?

            Priorities are important for several reasons. 

            For instance, priorities allow you to define which things in your life matter most.

            These priorities are your guide and something you can refer back to when you need to make a decision.

            By taking a moment to pause and reflect on your priorities, you are allowing yourself the freedom to see what truly matters in life.

            This is especially true for teachers who have a long to-do list. 

            At first, it can seem like everything on your to-do list has to get done right now.

            But when you take a step back and reflect, you can prioritize what needs to get done and what can wait. 

            Priorities are the building blocks to identifying what is important to you so that you can create boundaries that will keep your priorities consistent. 

            Without priorities, it can feel like you are always overwhelmed and swimming in things to do. 

            So let’s take a look at why teachers struggle with making priorities (and being consistent with them).

            Why Teachers Struggle with Making Priorities

            Teachers struggle with making priorities (and sticking with them) for several reasons. Including the following:

            Hard to Say “No”

            In general, educators care about their students and their performance as an educator.

            It’s no surprise then that some teachers have a hard time saying “no.”

            The reason many teachers have a hard time saying “no” is because they feel like it is selfish to put their needs first.

            Some teachers may feel like they cannot be successful teachers without compromising their priorities and boundaries.

            But the reality is, this is simply not true.

            In fact, having a clear set of priorities and boundaries will help you feel more energized and in control of your life.

            Which in turn allows you to show up as the educator you always knew you could be. 

            Want to Do it All

            Let’s be honest, teachers have that natural hustle mentality.

            Teachers will work hard and give everything they got for success.

            One of the flaws to this mentality, however, is not being able to stop when you should.

            There are all sorts of things teachers are told that they “should” be doing.


            • Have Instagram-worthy classrooms and bulletin boards.
            • Being readily available to families even after office hours.
            • Cute crafts that will keep students engaged.

            But if we are being honest, these expectations aren’t realistic.

            In fact, I have a secret to share with you…

            Are you ready?

            You can’t do it all!

            That’s right! No matter how many times you write things down on your to-do list, you will never get all of them done (or rarely will). A

            And you know what, that’s okay! Getting all your to-do list things done doesn’t make you a good teacher.

            How you show up for your students does.

            So girl I see you and listen to me.

            Stop trying to do it all!

            You are perfect the way you are and you don’t need to do it all. Make some priorities and stick to them. 


            One of the biggest reasons why teachers struggle with making priorities is that they want everything perfect.

            While you may have priorities in place, it can feel nearly impossible to be consistent with them because you are always chasing perfection.

            Let me tell you, I have been there and it is not fun.

            Done is better than perfect.

            The reality is you don’t expect perfection from your students, so why do you expect it from yourself?

            Your students aren’t going to notice if you did that perfectly. So choose your battles and prioritize the things that really matter to you.

             Make sure to look at the big picture!

            Not Knowing the Difference Between Priorities and Boundaries

            I know that a lot of people use priorities and boundaries interchangeably. 

            But there is a difference and I feel like it contributes to why teachers struggle with making priorities.

            Priorities are the things that matter most to you. Whereas boundaries are the walls that protect the things that matter most to you. 

            For example, let’s say your priority is to spend quality time with your family. 

            Now that you have that priority in place, what are some boundaries you can set in place that help support that priority?

            Some examples could be:

            • Leaving work at a set time.
            • Not taking work home with you.
            • Turning off work notifications when you get home.

            You won’t believe how freeing it can be once you have a clear set of boundaries and priorities in your life.

            If you want to learn more about boundaries, read this post where I describe what boundaries are, why they are important, and some misconceptions about them. 

            Not Setting Priorities Ahead of Time

            Not setting priorities before you need them is like prepping for a lesson as you teach.

            It doesn’t work.

            That’s why so many teachers struggle to make priorities. They don’t take the time to sit down and write them out.

            So if this sounds like you, that’s fine! Do this exercise to get clear about your boundaries:

            1. Get a piece of paper out and write down all the things that matter in your life.
            2. Now rate those items from most important to least important.
            3. Keep this where you can refer to it and reflect on it often.

            By setting priorities out ahead of time, you are taking control of your life and are prepared to answer when things jeopardize your priorities. 


            Putting it All Together

            Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope you found it helpful!

            Today we talked about:

            • What priorities are
            • Why priorities are important
            • Why so many teachers struggle with priorities

            Now that you have a clear path to setting priorities in your life, head over to my teacher self-care membership waitlist.

            In this membership you will learn how to:

            • Make priorities and be consistent with them.
            • Make boundaries and be consistent with them.
            • Figure out what self-care is right for your schedule.
            • Make a self-care plan that is right for you.
            • Connect with like-minded people with accountability groups.

            I know you are going to love this membership, and I can’t wait to see you there. 

            Happy Teaching!

            The Present Teacher Signature why teachers struggle with making priorities