June 19, 2014 @ 1:18 PM

How does being healthy influence safety? Eating healthy can give you more energy. Taking care of ourselves can give us a better attitude. Stress management may be very useful in helping you retain your health and sanity to remain a safe and productive employee.

It is important for school bus drivers and monitors to be alert and mindful to the choices we make. School transportation can be full of surprises, we may be asked to do an extra-trip in the morning or fill-in for an extra route in the afternoon. Either way, carrying healthy snacks such as a cheese stick and a few crackers, a homemade trailmix snack pak (such as a few almonds and dried fruit), or even one of those prepackaged single serve snack bags can help you to maintain energy and alertness.

Workplace stressors can also take a serious toll on your mental health and productivity. Stress you’re your job such as dealing with challenging students, a tough boss or difficult coworkers can be the most common form of anxiety. 

Early Warning Signs of Job Stress 



Try these 3 tips to cope with stress at work:

  1. Open the lines of communication: If you're struggling with a challenging student, coworker or difficult situation at a bus stop, consider writing it down before you speak up. After writing all you want to say pick-out the facts only and rewrite. Read it out loud to yourself first to help make sure you are getting your point across and not just complaining. Sometimes taking time to cool off and get the information out of your head will help you come up with a solution. If it's something you're not sure how to solve on your own, try to talk with someone who can help you (such as your supervisor) and use the factual note you created for a guide. Give a copy of the note to your supervisor because once things are in writing there is a better chance of getting it resolved.
  2. Take breaks: Just taking a 15- or 20-minute walk can help make all the difference. Walk around the bus yard or inside the school. I used to find looking at the creative classroom bulletin boards in the school and seeing the kids learning in the classroom would give me a new perspective on what their school day is like. Offer to volunteer at the school in-between your bus runs if possible. If you are on a field trip or sports run, try to be a positive part of the trip by helping to chaperone the children or cheering your school team to victory.
  3. Don't worry, be happy! We usually get what we expect in life… if we expect kids to misbehave on the bus that is what usually happens. A quote I recently read said, "Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due." Some things are just not worth worrying about. Often we cannot control the situations that come our way but we can control how we react to them. I know, easier said than done when a kid flips you the bird as you tell them they need to sit down. But when you are healthy and strong in mind, body and spirit you will be more proactive to stress instead of reactive. Your calmness and ability to cope with stress will positively affect those around you.

Small changes can make a big difference to your health and wellness. Poor eating habits and lack of physical activity are both major contributing factors to being overweight and obese in the United States. Making healthier choices can help not only our physical appearance; but it can help our mental health too, especially when it comes to stress.