Loading. Please wait.
Accessibility help

Managing stress: school staff and Place2Be clinicians share their tips

Managing stress: school staff and Place2Be clinicians share their tips

School staff and Place2Be clinicians share the different ways they manage stress and prioritise their own wellbeing.

A school can be an incredibly stressful place. School staff are often juggling multiple requests and demands on their time. While supporting students will always be the priority, it is important to remember you can only fully attend to their needs if you are looking after your own, too.

Below are some tips to help you manage stress and take care of your mental health.

Give yourself some space

At times it can feel as though our job is taking over our lives. It can be difficult not to take work home with us, however work-life balance is so important for our wellbeing.

“I step away from the job and remind myself I am a whole person and being a teacher is only a small part of that. I meet a friend, cook a meal, exercise, look after myself and reconnect to who I am.” School staff member
"I keep a list of priorities and try to stick to it. I leave my laptop at work two evenings a week and I always go for a walk at the end of the day. It really does help to clear the mind and process the day!" Therapy Lead/Designated Safeguarding Lead
“Like the old ad used to say: remember to work, rest and play!” Place2Be Clinician

It’s also important not to get overloaded during the day. Make sure you give yourself time to properly reflect on your priorities and achievements.

“Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day and appreciate what you have crossed off your list rather than focusing on what you haven’t.” Place2Be Clinician
"I write down three things that went well, or for which I am grateful, at the end of the day." School staff member
“Don’t overload your diary, particularly as we approach the winter break. Schedule in downtime just for you and don’t over-commit.” Place2Be Clinician

Place2Be Trainer Anna recommends this podcast from Brené Brown exploring burnout and the stress cycle, featuring an interview with Drs. Emily and Amelia Nagoski.

FLIP exercise

This activity was shared by a Cover Supervisor and Wellbeing Champion working in a secondary school.

When it feels as though everything is becoming too much and you’re about to flip, try following these simple steps:

  1. Focus: acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel them for a moment. Remember: it’s ok to experience negative feelings, it helps make us stronger.
  2. Language: think about what's caused the issue and try and re-phrase it using more positive language. For example, if you’re worried about a deadline, try telling yourself: ‘take your time’, ‘you can do this’, ‘they will understand’.
  3. Imagine: picture yourself acting out the stressful scenario with a positive outcome. For example, standing in front of a group of students or staff giving a talk, and they are all fully engaged and receptive.
  4. Pattern: consider whether there is a pattern to your stress and work on changing it. For example, you could ask a colleague to listen to your talk first, so you feel more at ease. Or ask if you can do it in a pair – Ant and Dec style!

Explore nature and get creative

Many of the school staff we spoke to said getting out into nature helped them to destress and relax.

“I love being outdoors on my allotment or garden at home, planting and growing, harvesting and eating home grown produce. Fresh air, exercise, listening to the birds – it has been my saviour over the last few years.” School staff member
“I like to walk by the river and foreshore. Watching passing boats and taking in the sites.” School staff member

There is growing evidence to suggest that spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Even spending just 20 minutes connecting with nature has been shown to help lower stress hormone levels.

"I love being out in the garden in the summertime or during the winter months I like to sit on the settee with my eyes closed, listening to music." Class Teacher
“I listen to music, go for a nice walk in local woodland and do art or creative activities to help me zone out and relax.” Keyworker

Doing something creative is also a great way to refocus the mind and let go of worries. Place2Be's Art Room team are specialists in using art to support wellbeing and develop resilience. You can find a selection of creative activities on our website designed to help children, young people, and adults nurture their relationships together whilst having fun. 

Explore our Art Room activities

Mental health training for school staff, trainee teachers and youth workers

If you’re interested in developing a deeper understanding of mental health, check out our Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme. This free online course can be used as an introduction or as a tool to refresh your existing knowledge and is suitable for people working with children and young people of any age.

We also provide a comprehensive training programme for Senior Mental Health Leads. The course is DfE quality-assured and will support you to develop your whole school approach to mental health and enable you to prioritise staff wellbeing.

Find out more about our training programmes

News & blogs

A rainbow and butterfly chalk drawing, with children's hands partially covering the pictures.

10 tips for nurturing the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ young people

Place2Be's Plus+ Group shares their tips and advice on how to create safe environments for LGBTQ+ children and young people.

Read more
Two young girls sitting at a table, painting pictures

Creativity & Wellbeing Week – how can creativity improve children’s wellbeing?

Place2Be welcomes Creativity and Wellbeing Week’s initiative to raise awareness of ‘creative health’.

Read more
Children running in playground, one child in a green vest smiling at camera

5 ways to get children moving for their mental health

Place2Be and The Daily Mile share tips on how to get children and young people moving for their mental health.

Read more