Managing New School Year Stress

We are a month or so into the new school year, depending on when your year started, and I don’t know about you, but the stress has arrived. It never fails how fast September ends, and then it seems like October and November bring an enormous amount of stress. District-wide assessments are due, report cards, parent-teacher night, and for some reason it seems like every student’s annual IEP is due before winter break. Just me? I hope not! While I don’t work directly in the classroom these days, I still feel the pressure that creeps around this time of year. I have managed to find some tricks along the way to help me cope with the stress.


This is obviously a no brainer, but we all overlook it so much. Set a cut-off time each night that gives you time to relax, implement a bedtime routine, and get good sleep. Working until the early morning and barely sleeping will only make you feel worse and cause serious burnout!

Stop Comparing Yourself

It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others – is my classroom as pretty? Am I working as hard as they are? Am I working out enough? Am I spending enough time with my family? Whatever your comparison question is, we are all guilty of allowing comparison to steal our joy. Remind yourself that you are in your own season and on your own journey; you have all that you need to reach your goals and make it through this year –just go for it!

Tune Out The Noise and Delegate!

In today’s world we have so much extra noise, whether it’s the news, TikTok, or the never-ending notifications of our phones – we are always “on.” Take time to unfollow and mute all the extra things you don’t need. Once you have a clear vision of what you do need to accomplish and focus on, look at your routine and see what you can delegate. Is it worth paying a little extra this month for grocery delivery instead of wasting time at the store?

Find Community and Peace

Find coworkers that are walking through the same season as you. When you find fellowship at work, you’re able to share resources, ideas, and can support each other. Plus, sometimes it’s just good to have someone to chat and laugh with on those hard days! I bring up the word “peace” because sometimes words like “relaxing,” or “calm” don’t make people feel less stressed. Peace for you may be a run, a dance class, or time at the pumpkin patch with your kiddos – whatever “peace” is to you – find it and make it a part of your schedule!

Take a break from all of your work to play with a furry friend – you won’t regret it!

I love cooking – especially if I can enjoy a meal with my family – a perfect way to relieve stress!

Remember Your Why

On my most stressful days, I try to get into the classrooms with the students as much as I can because they remind me of why I do what I do. Seeing their faces, hearing their giggles, watching them work on new skills – it’s all a great reminder as to why I get up and go to work each day. When I look at my students, I think of their families and all the adults in their lives that love them – that motivates me to keep going.

Stephanie Kennedy, M.Ed
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