The demands placed on you as an administrator can be enormous. Over the years, studies have shown that the function of the school administrator continues to increase and become more complicated as a result of continual changes within educational policy.
Your work days can be long, stretching into evening and even weekend hours. Your responsibility for the well-being of all your students—as well as staff—comes with high expectations. It’s understandable you can feel overloaded!
While stress is inherent in any job, there is a lot that you can do to manage the demands and stress you face as a high school administrator. You can get creative to minimize the negative impacts stress can have on the body, even though the stress itself doesn’t go away.
For many high school administrators, it is most effective to investigate the root causes of stress and utilize strategies and practices for dealing with it. Read on for 7 ways to effectively reduce and overcome stress as a high school administrator.
1. Stay positive
Attitude and perception play a huge role in dealing with stress. Researcher Jeffrey McClellan explains, “When we manage the perception of the stressor and keep it in perspective, we experience less strain and distress… the true source of stress or strain is not necessarily the demand, but rather the attitude with which we respond to the demand.”
Interrupt negative thoughts with positive ones. You’ll find that changing your thought patterns will result in a change in your outward expression as well. A great way to do this is to keep a “gratitude list,” “kudos file,” or “joy journal.” Hold on to positive notes from colleagues, parents, and students that you can revisit from time to time; this a good practice for re-centering yourself when feeling underappreciated.
In addition, mindfully choosing to notice and record the little moments of joy that occur throughout the day in a journal reduces stress, and you soon find that those positive moments are more frequent than you may have first realized.
2. Practice self-care
Self-care is more than just a popular buzzword—it’s a holistic approach to personal health and wellness. Your mental, emotional, and physical state are all important and require attention and intention. Daily stresses can accumulate into long-term stress, which manifests in physical symptoms like headaches, digestive issues, and a suppressed immune system. Exercise, even a brisk walk, has incredible stress relief value. Regular exercise (outdoors, if possible), a balanced diet, plenty of water, and adequate sleep will all go a long way to alleviating negative effects of daily stressors.
Communication really is key. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be helpful to share what you’re going through with someone you can trust. Administrators often feel they must shoulder their burdens alone, but doing so is a disservice to yourself and your school. When you feel heard and understood, you can negate any underlying notions of being alone in your experience. In fact, the very act of sharing itself builds stress resilience in both the sharer and the listener.
Problem-solving and workflow can be improved by good communication strategies as well. You and your staff can absolve certain stresses completely with an effective top-down plan for communication.
4. Go off the clock
Do not take stress home with you. This is easier said than done, but setting boundaries is critical to managing your stress as a high school administrator.
Find a pet project or hobby that can help you relax once you leave work. Read. Work in the garden. Watch a favorite show. Enjoy nature. Make a list of things that you enjoy doing that are good for you, then arrange to do one a day. Have some fun. Take the weekend off (you deserve it!) and go do something special, something you’ve been looking forward to doing.
Not only will you return to work refreshed, but you’ll also model a healthy work-life balance for the rest of the staff so that they can come to work refreshed, too.
5. Find community
Whether introverted or extroverted, humans are intensely communal creatures. To be healthy and whole, you need deep and meaningful relationships with people. Spend time with colleagues outside of work. Make time for friends, like a planned “night out.” Surround yourself with support and avoid toxic influences such as gossip and negativity. Instead, spend that precious time in mutual enjoyment of common interests with people you care about and feel safe around.
6. Use your time well
Time is a non-renewable resource, so time management through organization and planning is key to avoiding burnout. As an administrator, there are many strategies you can implement to make the best use of your time. One time saving technique that tends to be underutilized is delegation. You’re not just passing off work to others when you delegate tasks—you’re looking at the big picture and playing to the strengths of your staff to achieve a common goal.
Software can be another helpful resource that lightens your workload as well. Check out these time-saving tools for school administrators for a look at five different areas where you could streamline tasks and information with helpful technology. For example, our transcript software can assist you in quickly and easily producing student transcripts in a simple, easy-to-decipher format.
7. Find meaning
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the big picture when you’re inundated with the nitty-gritty details of the day-to-day. Job satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) plays a major role in your stress level. Take time to reflect on the particular rewards that come from working in a profession like yours.
Being responsible for hundreds of students, each with particular needs and talents, can feel like a lot of pressure, but make opportunities to get out of the office and among the students on a regular basis. Step back from the grind, observe the steady work and growth that is happening around you, and find satisfaction in it.
The work you are doing as an administrator is important and perhaps often underappreciated, but we want to remind you that it matters! Your ability to handle or solve stressful situations is what sets you apart in your field.
While you cannot eliminate stress from your life completely, you can effectively manage and reduce it by using intentional practices and implementing useful tools. If you review the list above, you’ll notice that all the points are simple and inexpensive. Stress relief doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective.
As you begin to implement some of these tips in your own life and career, know that our team wants to come alongside you to further lighten your load as a high school administrator. That’s why we offer an affordable app to help schools like yours organize important information in an easy, effective way. Click here to try Transcript Maker free today.