Being a Teacher is Stressful in Normal Times
But 2019/2020 has been anything but normal with COVID19. Studies are showing that stress is on the rise for many in the teaching profession. I really can relate. When I posted on Facebook this 14-year-old picture of me teaching last week in preparation for a presentation on teaching and anxiety, I was amazed at what appeared on my feed from people who I had not seen or heard from since that rewarding and very stressful time of my life.
“My high school savior and safe-haven!” One former student posted.
“You were like 90% of our high school lives.” Another student echoed.
A third former student said, “ Right there with you.”
A fellow science teacher from this time. “We still find bits of resources and materials you left here, little echoes of your time at MHS.”
A parent chimed in. “Our son still talks about your class and how fun it was learning! Your class was a bright spot for him.”
My former department head, “I loved teaching alongside you.”
Despite the accolades I received as a teacher, I left teaching high school 13 years ago because I cared too much about my students. This type of care is known as overcare and is often a symptom of anxiety. My overcare was depleting all my energy and building into full-blown anxiety and eventually autoimmune disease.
Anxiety is Different Than Stress
My personal story with anxiety is one of the reasons why I have been on a healing journey for the past twenty-five years. It is why I become a yoga teacher (teaching a healing art), an integrative medicine health coach (uncovering root causes of disease and healing them naturally), and this past year, a certified HeartMath® Clinical Coach with a focus on stress, anxiety, and emotional regulation.
Anxiety is different than stress. We all experience stress, but some of us process the stress in an unhealthy way. I was one of those people. The stress stayed with me and started doing some strange things to my mind, body, and heart. See if any of these symptoms sound familiar—excessive and sometimes irrational worries, heart palpitations, digestive issues, constipation or diarrhea or both, interrupted sleep, inability to concentrate, panic attacks, phobias (I was afraid to fly for 30 years. Read more here about how and why I overcome my fear of flying).
I had two saving graces—one I was more afraid of the medicine’s side effects than dealing with the anxiety, so I never went on any medicine, and two, I was a determined scientist who was willing to keep looking until I unraveled the mystery of my physical and mental health issues.
It has been a journey and I am always learning more!
This week, I learned that I have a low diversity of gut bacteria and I am missing some keystone species that produce Gaba and Tryptophan, both of which help create calming hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Through my latest yoga certification in Restorative Yoga, I have learned about the vagus nerve and its role in everything nervous system-related. I have also learned how difficult it is for those of us with anxiety to “let go” and allow our nervous system to truly rest.
HeartMath® Can Really Help
Through my HeartMath® training, I have learned many breathing and meditation techniques that create Heart/Brain Coherence which synchronizes the brain and the heart’s energy waves. This has been shown to help the heart create happy hormones such as DHEA, oxytocin, and ANF’s, nicknamed the Balance Hormone. I practice these techniques several times a day and coach clients on how to use these techniques to go from depletion to renewal.
There are No Magic Bullets to Healing
None of the modalities I use are magic bullets. They are methods that increase their potency over time with practice. And that is truly the key. They will not work unless you commit to practicing them daily. It takes at least 6 weeks of continuous practice to establish the new grooves in your nervous system and stop using the old ways of dealing with life. But I can tell you from experience that you can enjoy the process. And you will feel so empowered knowing you can learn to heal yourself. I am here to help so please reach out.
Check out all my services on my website.
Dear Andrea – Your emails are always rich and information and inspirational. Your current students are as blessed with your continued commitment, determination and knowledge, as your high school students were. Congratulations to developing such an important online presence. Namasté – Kandy
Dear Kandy, Thank you for reading and for your kind words. It means a lot to me to get this kind of feedback. I hope you are well and are continuing to offer your beautiful light to the world through your programs and offerings. It is quite a challenging time. Namaste, Andrea