Columbia Psychologist Helps Boone County Teachers Cope With Increased Stress | Missouri News

COLUMBIA – Teachers are under more stress this year, according to the results of a Missouri State Teachers Association survey of nearly 2,900 educators.

A Columbia psychologist tries to help educators in Boone County with free support services focused on stress management and nervous system regulation.

Of the teachers who responded to the survey, 83% said they often or almost always feel stressed at work, and 62% of teachers said this fall semester was more stressful than the entire school year of the year. ‘last year.

Chris Lawrence, founder and director of HeartSpace Clinic in Columbia, began offering free therapy to anyone in education or any healthcare professional.

Lawrence said the vast majority of participants are employed by Columbia Public Schools.

HeartSpace offers services on Zoom several times a day.

“We did them all this year, and they were very popular,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said she was seeing an increase in anxiety that “is unlike anything she’s seen in 30 years.”

“Because everyone we deal with has the same stressor. And the stress is supposed to happen and then end and it doesn’t end. It’s just happening,” Lawrence explained.

“I saw teachers say they were sleeping better. I told them they were reacting better right now. I saw teachers say they teach children the tools in their class,” Lawrence said. .

Kelly Powell, secretary for library media programs at CPS, said the advice she received from the sessions was helpful on the job.

“Be aware of your breathing. I can even find myself doing it when I’m at the copier,” Powell said. “You can stop for a moment and really feel that breath filling your lungs even counting it. I can just stop for a moment and do it without it being a big output.”

Samantha Iadanza, media clerk at Jefferson Middle School, said student behavior had not always been great, but it was stressful for children to adjust to school since the pandemic.

“Their behavior also rubs off on teachers and staff. It can be very difficult to understand that and to support them, but also to support ourselves,” said Iadanza.

“Our belief is that we have to support the adults who work with these children because their work is so important,” Lawrence said. “The more regulated they are, the better off they are to work with children who are deregulated because children are really struggling too.”

Lawrence teaches his participants to find a part of their body that is associated with a stressor. His sessions teach how to turn off this stress.

Here are some tips for teachers or anyone dealing with stress:

  • Concentrate on your breathing. “If you inhale and blow for longer than you have inhaled, much like suffering from the candles on a birthday cake, it basically helps your body settle in and you’ll notice when you do that, just this really nice stabilization that happens in your body, ”Lawrence said.
  • Feel your feet on the ground. “It’s one way to put your roots down,” Lawrence said.

HeartSpace Clinic is currently raising funds to continue offering free sessions to teachers until 2022. To find more information about HeartSpace and its services, click here.

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