Do any of these utterances sound like something you might say at the end of a long and tiring day? "That parent conference gave me an enormous tension headache right between my eyes." "My hand is all cramped up from writing so many assessments." "My students are giving me so much stress. Just look at how my face is all broken out." "I'm really angry with the director for wasting my time with another boring meeting." "I don't have the energy to pick up one more toy."

If you said, "Yes," to any of these comments, then you may be feeling stressed out, out of sorts, or down in the dumps. You probably need to do certain things right now to calm and relax yourself. Or, if you are feeling really burned out, you might need to try something to energize yourself.

You know that when you are teaching and caring for a young child, you need to be aware of the "total" child - his or her physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs. But the same is true for you, as an adult. You need to be alert to stresses and burnout in all aspects of your life in order to be a better you. Here are a variety of "quick fixes" that may help you feel good temporarily. But, ultimately, you will need to invest time in some of the calming or energizing strategies that will work well for you over time.

A First Step

The first thing to try to do is to carve out a little time just for you. On a daily basis, you might find this precious niche of time by getting up 15 minutes earlier or staying up 20 minutes later. You might rethink how to use your time more wisely as you commute to work. Also, it is important to regularly schedule a weekly block of time for such things as personal pampering: a gym date or involvement in a stimulating book club.

Don't feel guilty about finding and maintaining this time for yourself and your future well-being. Ask for help from others - encourage grandma to watch the kids, and trade babysitting time or exchange meal preparations with a friend.

Locate space for privacy. Consider buying a comfy, padded lounger so you can read or write outside in the fresh air under a tree. You might like to use an attractive folding screen to hide a messy corner where you can leave out an ongoing craft project. Try developing storage space for your de-stressing or energizing tools, like a box under the bed for your weight training apparatus or a wicker basket to organize your gardening supplies.

Your Physical Self: Pamper Yourself!

Physical exercise helps to relieve built-up tension in your body, and it helps to release endorphins that promote positive feelings. Consider starting your day off by stretching in a warm shower to loosen up.  Then, as recommended by the National Heart and Lung Institute, take a brisk walk for 15-30 minutes three to four times a week. Or, raise your heartbeat dancing or shadow boxing to some favorite fun tunes. And think about treating your body to a great 20 minute power nap!

If you need to relax, consider some simple breathing exercises to supply more oxygen to your brain, which will also help you to concentrate.  You may wish to try yoga, which encourages your body to be flexible and helps to calm your mind to reach a more peaceful state. Join the "Y" or another local organization and take up swimming year round. Water is delightfully refreshing and very soothing. Of course, a good night's sleep helps to really rejuvenate your body.

Your Cognitive Self: Treat Your Mind

Reading on a regular basis can be quite relaxing. Start out with some poetry or short stories that you can actually read from beginning to end in one sitting. Think about keeping a journal. For about 15 minutes each day try writing down your feelings to organize your thoughts about stressful events and discover knowledge about yourself.

If you need to become energized, stimulate your thinking by investigating a new hobby, researching a topic of interest online or tackling a challenging crossword puzzle book or computer game. Stuck in a rut?  Attend a conference to gain new ideas, or participate in an exhilarating poetry reading at a coffeehouse or bookstore.

Your Social and Emotional Self: A New You

Pick yourself up! Enjoy connecting with an old friend or a new friend - on the phone, by email, or in person. Network with others in a support group or a blog and solve some problem you have in common. (And don't forget to join the ECT community and send questions about those disturbing classroom dilemmas to our experts!)

Take up a sport, like bowling or jogging. Not only will it take your mind off what is stressing you out, the exercise is healthy for you. Besides, the change of venue is refreshing, and you'll get to have fun with people as you socialize.

And maybe most importantly, relax and get to know yourself! Find an inner harmony and balance by going to beautiful places - for example, bike on a local trail or take in an amazing sunset. Identify your own strengths. Maybe you're a good singer or have wonderful, shiny, healthy hair? Enjoy these things about yourself! Don't forget to laugh. When you laugh, it releases endorphins that reduce tension.  Practice your wonderful smile and smile more often.  Someone is sure to smile back, and you will both feel better!