To support supply teacher mental health, SupplyWell have collated 8 tips for beating the Sunday blues and help you quell those Sunday evening feelings of anxiety!
Wow, is it Sunday already?! Everyone can get the feeling of Sunday blues from time to time, even those of us who adore our jobs. It’s a common feeling in any profession, but teachers are faced with the pre-Monday feeling more so than others. Don’t worry though, here are some tips to help you quell those Sunday evening feelings of anxiety.
1. Get prepared
Before you leave on work on Friday, get yourself prepared to be able to hit Monday morning running. It is so tempting to try and get out of the door as soon as your working hours are over (because, after all it’s your weekend now!) However, if you frequently find yourself spending hours of your weekend suffering from Sunday night anxiety it might be worth spending some extra time (an hour or two) preparing for Monday morning before you leave on Friday.
SupplyWell’s Co-Founder, CEO and ex-teacher Michael Heverin said “On a Thursday and Friday before I would leave school I would spend 20-30 mins making sure all my resources were prepped and ready for Monday to beat the photocopier queue!”
Utilising the time at the end of the day before you leave school will help you feel less anxious on Sunday. Allowing you to fully enjoy your time away from school, with the knowledge that you have boxed off some tasks already. Here are some suggestions: you could make sure that the classroom is tidy and organised in the way that suits you best. If you’re trying out new software, give it a go before you leave. Does the computer need updating? Update it while there’s less time pressure. You could also organise your Monday in a planner, so you feel less frantic in the post-weekend AM.
2. Read something motivating
Reading poetry has been known to boost mood during periods of stress, grief, and anxiety. Here is a poem by author Donna Ashworth called ‘Too many Sundays’
“Too many Sundays have been darkened by the dreaded presence of Monday, looming in like a storm cloud of fear, anxiety and gut-wrenching stress. Sunday is your gift, your day to recharge, your freedom. Be protective of that time. Monday has its space enough; do not let it overstep its mark. Make your plans, prepare, then push Monday back into its box and let Sunday shine forth like the jewel it is. You deserve this day of soul rest. Life is not a chore to be dealt with; it’s to be lived, my friend.
You’re here to live. And Sunday is a day, gifted to us, for doing whatever your little heart desires.”
3. Time for work and time for you
Now this is easier said than done, and paired with a heavy marking load this is difficult. While dedicating some of your Friday afternoon/evenings to preparing and organising, it is important to try to reduce the time you will devote to work over your weekend. It is healthy for you to consciously have ‘you time’ and attempt to restrict the amount of time you spend focusing on work. By focusing on school while you’re still at school, it can make it easier to keep your home space as your relaxation place and separate the two. SupplyWell’s Co-Founder and CEO Michael Heverin shared a tip from his teaching days “I created a ‘marking timetable’ to go with my teaching timetable. As much as I could, I tried to stick to this to create clearer boundaries.”
4. Do something that you enjoy
You can give attention to yourself by doing something that you enjoy and this will take your mind off the week ahead and allow you to wind down. You could read a book, watch your favourite show, take a relaxing bath, spend time with a loved one, or Facetime a friend. This will take your mind away from anxious work thoughts and allow you to switch off.
5. Listen to nice ambient music to fall asleep more easily
Many teachers claim to have difficulty falling asleep on Sunday nights because they have feelings of anxiety. If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep because your mind is filled with thoughts about the day ahead, try listening to relaxing music. Studies have shown that listening to music before bed can help you fall asleep quicker and more deeply, allowing you to properly switch off. If you prefer ambient music such as the sound of rain or forest sounds, (some people even fall asleep to the sound of washing machines and oscillating fans!) Nature Sound Retreat has an excellent blog that explores the calming and focusing benefits of music, which you can read here.
There are apps that provide soundscapes, including our partner app Evermind at work. SupplyWell has partnered with mental health advocates Everymind at Work to give members of the SupplyWell community free access to the app. Whatever noises you like to listen to, this could be a great technique to help calm your mind and beat the Sunday blues.
6. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Mental wellbeing is very important for teachers to teach happy. Many people incorporate meditation techniques into their daily lives. Taking as little as 10 minutes to clear the mind and focusing on the present moment is massively beneficial in stress management. You can train yourself to take a moment to focus on the present while you are at school. For example, when you hear the bell go for lunch that can be your signal to concentrate on your breathing and ground yourself into the current moment. This helps to reduce anxieties about the future and the past by focusing on the now. Here is a meditation article to help you get started.
7. Think about something you’re excited about for Monday
While you’re practicing positive thoughts on Sunday night, try to mentally list some things that you are looking forward to on Monday. Are you teaching a topic you particularly enjoy? Do you enjoy socialising in the staffroom? Are they serving something tasty on the lunch menu? There are plenty of things you might be excited for that you haven’t thought about, focusing on the good can help you feel less worried about the week ahead.
8. Positive thinking
The power of positive thinking is key in beating Sunday blues. There is no denying that the teaching profession can be overwhelming at times and sometimes teachers can even have feelings of guilt if they allow themselves to switch off and stop thinking about school. Well, it’s time to put a stop to that negative self-talk and turn it around! Focus on what can go well rather than what can fail. Have faith in your abilities. You have made it through every difficult day that you have ever had and you will cope with whatever this week has in store!
Do you have any tips for beating the Sunday blues? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! We’re always keen to hear from you.