Stressed teachers are dancing and stretching their worries away

Teachers are turning to dancing and stretching to deal with their stress.
Image: 123RF/luckybusiness

Teachers experiencing high levels of stress in schools – mainly on the Cape Flats – are dancing, doing the downward dog and employing breathing techniques to cope.

NGO Wellbeing in School and Education (Wise) has piloted the project at a number of schools after international stress tests it employed revealed that teachers were burnt out and stressed, especially at schools in disadvantaged communities.

The project has been rolled out in primary schools but will eventually be extended to high schoolteachers. It’s designed around positive psychology-based techniques that teach self-care and mindfulness.

The tools used include mindful breathing, yoga, and Biodanza dance.

“There’s a desperate need for morale upliftment and motivation in these schools, not only at this time of year but all year round.

“Over and above the jam-packed curriculum, a big challenge for these teachers is keeping spirits up when faced with the harsh realities of community problems,” said Carol Surya, psychologist and Wise co-founder.

According to Surya, studies have proven that regularly practising mindfulness changes the structure of our brain and plays an important role in reducing stress and anxiety.

The wellbeing programme has been active in schools across the Cape Flats since 2017, offering mindfulness tools to schoolchildren, including yoga, dance and self-esteem games.

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