After the holiday season and the new year excitement, it felt to most people that January lasted for a year. Hopefully the second month of 2020 meets you doing well, but what I seem to hear a lot when I go from building to building is a very similar story of emotional exhaustion.
If you're not familiar with the term, it is defined as feeling emotionally and physically drained as a result of accumulated stress from your personal or work lives, or a combination of both. Emotional exhaustion is also one of the signs of burnout. Teacher burnout is something that is not just local but is something that is happening all over the country. Public education is in a fight for its life from all the forces of privatization as well as union attacks. All of this can be exhausting combined with all the things we all take home with us from our classrooms and the increase demands on our time. All of the compassion fatigue, work stress and issues in our own personal lives and societal concerns can lead to an increase in absences, a higher turnover rate, and just an overall sense of malaise that causes many to just feel irritated daily and cause minor things to bubble over unnecessarily.
Seriously consider your mental health. When you feel hurt, you tend to hurt others whether purposely or accidentally. Considering that we see the same people every day this will become the place where your colleagues, friends, and even students become the accidental targets of our emotional exhaustion. Do your best to remove stressors from your life. Try to be as physically healthy as possible. Get more sleep, choose healthier foods, limit your alcohol intake, increase your exercise, and practice mindfulness. Whether that means yoga, journaling, talking to friends, saying a prayer, or reaching out for professional help please consider doing it. As a dues paying member, our state union NYSUT has a Social Services department on hand ready to help you. Call (800) 342-9810, Ext. 6206, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They can give you resources through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefit to help. Also, if we can be of help locally here at the FFT office please feel free to reach out.