Beyond the usual “go for a walk and stretch your legs”, teachers need a break. It’s not that a walk doesn’t help, it certainly can, but teachers are the grounding point for students in the classroom. That means setting aside emotions, even during times of frustration, in order to deliver the day’s learning and also remain a positive point of contact for the learners. As a teacher, you may also find yourself as the main source of guidance in a child’s life, as many children come from tumultuous homes and family lives. This, combined with ordinary work stresses, can lead to major fatigue and vicarious stress, requiring slightly more aggressive techniques to recharge during lunch breaks.
Tension and Trauma Relieving Exercises
The acronym TRE stands for Tensions and Trauma Relieving Exercises. Founded by Dr. David Berceli PhD who is a specialist in international trauma prevention and intervention, developed a method to engage the muscles that come into play when we enter into a Fight or Flight mode. The basis of the practice states that we are often unaware of the extent to which we are traumatised, or how severely prolonged stress affects us. In medical science, we now understand that trauma is stored in the body at a cellular level. When it is not expelled, it can lead to symptoms such as adrenal burnout, anxiety, depression, PTSD among many others – including overwhelm, a sense of dread and an inability to make decisions, alongside fatigue and stress. The exercises take only a few minutes and are showing measurable, medical results in enabling people to shut down the stress sensations and release the built-up emotions without ever needing to attend “therapy” or “face past traumas”.
Disconnecting From Reality
A lunch break is a perfect opportunity to take a mental break. If you battle to turn off and relax, try an online game which will engage your attention and give you that disconnect. This technique is so effective, a recent study revealed that online games or hobbies enjoyed during a lunchbreak can increase productivity levels by as much as 20 per cent on subsequent tasks. It doesn’t have to be an online game – reading a book or playing a card game with a colleague will have the same benefits.
Tuning Out by Tuning in
Enjoy an online guided meditation, research indicates it can help to recharge your emotions, which will send fresh energy to your body, too. Improve your concentration levels and de-stress during your lunch break by connecting your headphone. Do these programs really work?
“A Cleveland Clinic study found that web-based stress management programs, like guided meditation, decreased stress levels and boosted scores emotional well-being in a group of 300 healthy adults, Healthy Living’s Amanda L. Chan reported”.
Take a Mental Break: It’s Not Just About Eating
The human being is a very complex organism, with multi-faceted needs. Yes, it’s called a lunch break because it’s an opportunity to refuel your body’s energy needs, but the more research is published by the medical community, the more indications we see that refuelling emotionally will help to maintain a better state of mental health. Once we feel refreshed and replenished, mentally and physically, we are able to be better employees, better teachers, and happier people.