What is Email Apnea?
Have you ever noticed how many times you check your school email during the day? Have you even noticed how you checked your emails? There is something strange happening when you do and you may not even know it-–its called “email apnea.”
As teachers, we are constantly connected online. The need to constantly check our work email and get bombarded with emails from admin, colleagues, parents, students is overwhelming. There is an expectation to respond immediately to the urgent email from concerned parent, or the ambiguous email from your admin. This all subconsciously affects us physically and mentally. We start suffocating. Literately.
But don’t worry, you won’t need a sleeping test or a CPAP to help you breathe better. You just need to actually breathe.
Now, email apnea, like sleep apnea, can really affect our well being. I searched online and found Linda Stone’s two articles that can be found here and here that explains this phenomena very well. As sleep apnea is “the action of involuntarily not breathing during the night,” email apnea is the subconscious act of not breathing well when checking our school email.
That doesn’t sound good.
Breathing is where the mind and body meet.
Email is unfortunately a way for people to send you their priorities. They demand an answer promptly as soon as you read it. You need to change that. Granted probably the best advice to avoid email apnea is to NOT check your email before you go to school, but that may not work for teachers for various reasons.
Here are 5 ways to prevent email apnea
1. BREATHE! We all know its benefits. In our school, its even posted in our school elevator. Studies continue to show the importance of stopping what you are doing and being mindful of our breathing. Yoga style breathing or even the boxing style of breathing can help
2. You dictate the time to respond. Schedule at least two times to check email and make sure you stick to it. Once in the morning AFTER you had your coffee or tea and once again after lunch and maybe one after dinner.
3. Use email Filters/Folders/Labels – use filters, folders or labels (as Gmail calls them) to categorize and organize incoming emails to help prioritize them to help slow down your growing unread inbox
4. Unsubscribe from websites or stores you don’t use or shop from in the past 6 months. Chances are you, if you didn’t shop there, then you don’t need them and you can sign up again later
5. Auto responder – you can use an auto responder for those specific incoming email address saying you got their email and you will get back to them at a later time.
6. Bonus tip: Take a walk and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. The emails will still be there. This will get the blood flowing and you can gather your thoughts before responding.
If you want to know why we are so compelled to constantly check our emails, check out this article for more information.