Don’t let stress and worry become a way of life
Survival tips from ACSA’s Member Assistance & Legal Support Team
November 15, 2021
We can all agree that there has never been a more difficult time to be a school district administrator. As Advocates on the ACSA Member Assistance & Legal Support Team, we talk to administrators around the state every day. Administrators often feel there is not enough of themselves to go around. In today’s hectic world, including the enormous task of dealing with the coronavirus, you are trying to fill multiple roles and are often pulled in a variety of directions.
Under the direction of Senior Director Margarita Cuizon-Armelino, our team (John Almond, Sharon Dezutti, Joe Jones, Janet Morey, Bill Tschida, Gary Rutherford and Lloyd Wamhof) has discussed the feedback we get from administrators in every job-alike group in ACSA. The demands of the job are such that there never seems to be enough time in the day to address all of the issues that need your attention.
As a result, stress and worry can become a way of life and often lead to a lack of sleep. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about decisions that need to be made, we suggest that you give some thought to the following tips.
1. Make certain that you are thoroughly prepared for the next workday. Before you leave the office in the evening, review your meeting schedule for the next day, and note all of the items that you hope to address. Some of these items will simply be follow-up while others are proactive in nature. By being thorough in your preparation, you can hopefully leave your issues behind and not spend all night thinking about what you need to accomplish.
2. There is hardly a day where you are not faced with controversial or sensitive issues. In dealing with these issues, begin by making a list of all of the options for each issue. After examining the options, determine if you are in need of any input. Typically, parties that will be affected by the eventual decision want to be heard. Once you have gained all of the necessary input, it’s time to choose a course of action and make a decision.
3. Do not spend time dreaming up negative scenarios of what could happen. In all likelihood, you will be wasting your time because you will be worrying about possibilities that will probably never occur. These negative scenarios can also create a great deal of anxiety and prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.
4. Prior to retiring for the evening, force your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your life. These can be personal or even work related. Remember, if you are not well rested, you are not going to be at the top of your game at the office. Proper rest is essential for good decision making, and the key to a good night’s sleep is to be able to leave the office at the office.
5. Your ability to maintain balance in your life will be determined by your leadership style and your ability to live with your priorities. The balance between work and your personal life is not equal or constant. It certainly does not mean scheduling an equal number of hours for work and play. We would offer, however, that it does mean that there needs to be a balance between achievement and enjoyment. Think about the following:
  • Know who you are — recognize your limitations. You simply can’t be all things to all people.
  • Know what you value. We all normally say the right things, but, oftentimes, actions speak louder than words.
  • As stated before, identify your personal priorities and adapt to changes in your life.
6. Carve out some time for exercise. This final tip is probably the most difficult to achieve. Walking may be the most achievable exercise. It’s something you can do on a break or at lunchtime. Find a walking partner, whether it be a colleague during work or a significant other or friend after work. Just carving out 20-30 minutes four to five days a week will go a long way towards achieving good mental and physical health. Make it a habit. Two of those days can be on the weekend. Exercise is a stress reliever and will help you stay physically healthy.
Remember, as a member of ACSA, you have access to our Member Assistance & Legal Support Team. Most calls that our team receives do not require an attorney. The members of this team have years of administrative experience and are available to assist you. Call us at 1-800-608-2272.
Jump start your career with ACSA Professional Learning.
Learn More
Contact Us
© 2021 Association of California School Administrators