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Tips for Staying Energized

Between teaching, holding office hours, responding to email, engaging in committee work, etc., it can be difficult to keep our head above water, let alone stay energized. The following strategies are suggested to help instructors de-stress, particularly as the semester and/or academic year unwinds.

  1. Schedule time to connect with colleagues – particularly those who inspire you and lift your spirits. Meet for lunch or coffee to discuss teaching and learning issues and/or to just catch up (Forsyth, 2008). Consider meeting in the CTE’s newly updated library/lounge area where you will find gliding chairs and low lighting.
  2. While friendly conversation is critical to an invigorating academic environment, it can also rob us of time to fulfill our professional responsibilities. If your desk faces the door, consider repositioning it.(Forsyth, 2008)
  3. If possible, try to separate personal space and time from work space and time. The nature of teaching often means that our personal space is also our work space, so we need to find ways to clearly separate the two.
  4. Schedule time for yourself in your calendar, and from time-to-time, dare to walk out the door without your briefcase and/or laptop!
  5. Try to schedule one day a week off from academic life. While this is very difficult for most teachers, it can result in feeling more productive the other six days of the week.
  6. Learn to say "no," or at least, "Let me think about it and get back to you." While we have obligations beyond actual teaching, it does not mean we are required to say yes to every request. If we say yes to everything, it is difficult to maintain high standards.
  7. Use the phone. In this digital age, we tend to use email, but it is often more expedient to call rather than type a message (Forsyth, 2008).
  8. Disconnect. At a predetermined time, turn off the computer and/or Smartphone (Forsyth, 2008).
  9. On the lighter side, consider the following ideas adapted from Honolulu Community College’s Faculty Development Teaching Tip site…
    • Write it down. Or, if a student makes a request, ask him or her to write it down. This practice allows you to let it go because it’s on paper.
    • Ask for help. It sounds simple, but for some of us it is very difficult. If we can ask a colleague or friend for help, hopefully, they will be comfortable doing the same.
    • Enjoy nature.
    • Make exercise such as taking a walk a regular part of your day.
    • Listen. As teachers, we tend to be in the role of speaking more than listening, which can be exhausting.
    • Plan "joy breaks." These are five to ten minutes of doing something unrelated to work, such as meditating, listening to music, taking a walk, etc.
    • Take advantage of events such as those offered through LCC’s Performing Arts and Theatre Program, or visit a local gallery, planetarium, etc.

References

McKinney, Mary. "Balancing Work and Play." Advoid Burnout. Becoming a Successful Academic, 2003. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.

Triple Army Medical Center. "101 Ways to Cope with Stress." Faculty Development at Honolulu Community College. Web. 22 Apr. 2010.

Forsyth, Beverly. "Tips for De-Stressing Frenzied Faculty." NISOD Innovation Abstracts, College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin. 18. Apr. 2008.

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