Living with anxiety

Living with anxiety

I am thrilled to announce that Sarah of @happystudentshappyteacher has written this fantastic blog post about her experience of anxiety. I’ve been following Sarah since I started my Instagram page and I’m loving her frequent reminders to others that ‘It’s ok not to feel ok’.  Here’s her story.

Sarah shares what she’s noticing online at present

Right now the online environment is very overwhelming. The news headlines are terrifying both in relation to Covid and indeed other national and worldwide headlines. It can seem like the online world is a very negative place right now.

Teacher bashing and current affairs

 I also find it very difficult to ignore the constant teacher bashing that goes on online. My ways of dealing with all of the above are to limit my exposure to the news. I watch important announcements only. For me, this is the only way to keep added anxiety at bay. Each individual is different though.

Some people find that keeping informed and abreast of the situation helps them to deal with anxiety. Each person needs to do what feels right for them. I do not check the daily figures. With the exception of one or 2 lapses in judgement, I do not read comment threads where teacher bashing is prominent. I am careful of what I am exposing myself to on social media.


As a frequent poster and no-nonsense,  ‘grammer - Sarah shares her thoughts about Instagram.

I unfollow people who are negative or who don’t add to my life in a positive way. I have found the teacher Instagram community to be an incredibly supportive and a positive place to be but I know also that people can become overwhelmed seeing all the wonderful lessons and beautifully organised classrooms and it is ok to take a break when that does happen to you. I am very fortunate that my experience of the teacher community has been extremely positive.

Getting organised for remote teaching

It is also easy in times like this to become overwhelmed with the number of resources available. I am getting emails about courses, resources and websites all ready to help me tackle remote learning for a second time. I myself am sharing as much as I can to help my fellow teachers but it is important to remember that we cannot do it all. If you find yourself being overwhelmed by these resources it is ok to switch off for a while too. Sometimes too much information can be just as stressful as no information at all.

Sarah’s personal experience of anxiety

I have always been a worrier I suppose, but looking back now, knowing what I know, I have always suffered with anxiety. I know my leaving cert year and my 3rd year in college, I had two very definite bouts of crippling anxiety where I could not function. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I had to hit pause and take a momentary step back from what I was doing. I only started to realise that I had anxiety when I was living in South Korea. I lived alone so I had a lot of time to think. I had had 2 very difficult years in my personal life prior to moving to South Korea. I think this is when my anxiety really took hold. I managed quite well during my time in South Korea, managing to keep myself and my mind sufficiently occupied so that I didn’t have to deal with what was going on. When I moved back to Ireland, I thought my anxiety would lessen, now that I was back in the bosom of my family, reunited with my amazing friends and back in a school familiar to me doing a job I love. That was not the case and it was in 2016/2017 that I finally decided to take action.

What anxiety feels like

For me, my anxiety seems to always be with me at the moment, this shadow that follows me around. I had (for the most part, prior to the Covid Pandemic) a good handle on my anxiety. Now, I feel that I am being bombarded with scary figures, scared for my own health and the health of my family, an entirely different teaching environment, lockdowns, missing friends etc. I had to try and find an entirely different routines and habits to manage my anxiety.

My anxiety presents itself in many ways. I get heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, nausea and I also have IBS linked to my anxiety and many, many more physical symptoms. For me though, the worst are the non-visible symptoms, constant worry, overthinking, spiralling negative thoughts, catastrophising etc.

Anxious thoughts

Sarah lists some of her anxious thoughts including:

  • I am doing a good enough job?  

  • I am going to get a serious illness. I will catch Covid.

  • My family members will catch covid and become seriously ill.

  • I worry about how my body looks.

  • I worry about not finding a partner, about never being able to afford a house.

Furthermore, Sarah warns… the list goes on and on. You name it and I have probably worried about it.

Sound familiar?

It’s important to learn to accept yourself

For me accepting myself is learning what my limitations are, believing that I am enough as I am and that I am doing my best in all aspects of my life.

Seeking help

If Sarah’s story has struck a chord with you, please know that you are not alone. Speaking to family and friends may help some and there are organisations who offer a supportive and non-judgemental ear. That’s what anxiety needs sometimes is a listening ear. As teachers, we have a free wellbeing support service called Inspire Wellbeing (028  903  28474). Check out for more information. They have a 24/7 helpline that you can call..

Aware  (1800  80  48  48) and they run free courses and CBT sessions as well. Check out

Your GP: It is also very important that you reach out to your GP for help too.

Thank you Sarah!

Thank you so much to Sarah for sharing her story in this blog. Sarah is so good at opening up about something that so many experience (but don’t talk about) and I am grateful to her for doing so. She will return in another blog post soon outlining her advice on strategies that have helped her in the past and with ideas for NQTs feeling overwhelmed and anxious right now. Remember, share with others how you’re feeling and limit yourself to whatever it is that is making you feel bad.

> Tips to help with living with anxiety



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