During your two years on the Leadership Development Programme, we aim to support you wherever we can. Working in the classroom and helping the lives of some of the children who need you the most is just incredible. But it shouldn’t come at the cost of your mental health.
If you are anxious or worried about heading into the classroom then please remember: you are not alone. It is more than natural to feel this way especially with something that may be really different from anything you’ve ever done before.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget to look after your mental health. To give you a hand, we’ve put together a list of quick and easy ways to check in with how you’re feeling and give yourself a boost.
1. Practice the 4:7:8 breathing technique.
This is also sometimes known as a ‘relaxing breath’. To do this, take a comfortable seat, breath in through the nose for four seconds, hold the breath for a count of seven and exhale with a ‘whoosh’ sound for 8 seconds. This technique, when practiced regularly, can help to reduce anxiety and control unwanted emotions.
2. Take some time off.
Unwinding is so important to help you feel your best. Whether you watch a film or take a walk with a friend, do something for yourself every single day. If this is something that you know you’re bad at doing then set fifteen minutes out before bed and take this time to read a good book, meditate or watch a comedy that you love. Whatever puts a smile on your face is always important to make time for.
3. Focus on the present moment.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or anxious then it can help to anchor yourself in the present moment. Dr Lindsay Joyce, a psychologist at The People Project, spoke with Teach First, giving some tips on how to remain present.
Taking a moment, draw your attention down your feet and notice any sensations. Are they feeling warm or cold? Are they tingling? Can you feel where your feet come into contact with the floor or with your socks or slippers? Is one foot more connected to the floor?
This technique can be done anywhere at any time and helps to helps to develop your emotional flexibility.
4. Talk about it.
Take some time to talk to people about how you’re feeling, how you’re finding the programme, what you might be struggling with and what you think you’re actually really great at. This could be with your school mentor, your Participant Development Lead, your family and friends, other people on the programme or your line manager. There will always be people there ready to listen and happy to help.
Your Teach First recruiter is always there for you if you are worried about anything on the programme or have anything you’d like to talk about. During the programme you will build a network of other participants. Many of them could be feeling the same way or have gone through similar experiences. If you’d ever like to talk to people who are in the same situation as you then your Teach First network can offer amazing support. When you’re with Teach First, you’ll never be alone.