How to manage burnout for school leaders

As we touched on in our recent blog around practicing mindfulness within your school environment, the number of teaching professionals reporting stress is significantly higher than the rest of the UK working population. It’s a highly worrying statistic as, as well as affecting your concentration levels, productivity and motivation, repeated stress at work can also lead to burnout – with the key difference being that burnout is the stage of feeling like “I can’t do this anymore”.

Where feelings of stress can cause a frantic need to tackle everything, burnout is quite the opposite; you might find yourself feeling withdrawn, detached or hopeless, unable to think of a solution. In a school environment where you may be responsible for the wellbeing of others, whether colleagues or pupils, signs of burnout can be dangerous not just for the outlook it can instil within yourself, but for how it might affect those around you.

We’ve put together some tips to help you prevent or manage feelings of burnout.

Reach out for support

When burnout sets in, feelings of hopelessness can make it difficult to rationalise a solution. Reach out to someone close to you, whether at home or to a colleague that can empathise with your situation.

If you’re in a leadership position, consider the support network around you. It’s likely that, if you’re feeling stuck or unsupported, others in your environment may be feeling the same way. This could be the ideal time to address and refresh the internal support available and look to establish a network or open forum with colleagues.

Get some perspective – embrace your role as a leader

At times when burnout might have you feeling resentful towards your responsibilities as a school leader, try to cast your mind to the conscious choice you made toward this career and rediscover the meaning in your role. This small act of mindfulness can help to bring you back to the present and remind you of what it is that you are grateful for in your role and life.

Remember there is life outside of work

When responsibility becomes too overwhelming, feelings of guilt can set in that might disrupt your enjoyment of everyday life outside of work. Try to accept that this should not take over your life and that punishing yourself will only exacerbate the feelings.

Switch off when you can and spend time really relaxing, whether that is through reading, getting out and active or socialising.

At NAHT, we want all of our teaching professionals to feel supported in what they do. From unparalleled protection and representation, to advisory resources and a wide network of professionals, we want you to know that there is support available for all areas of your career. For more resources like this, visit our lifestyle and wellbeing resources, or find out more about joining us as a member today.