Elementary School Teachers Development of a Sense of Community in the Workplace through the Participation in a Fitness and Mindfulness Program Direct Original Research

Main Article Content

Christina Gipson
Jessica Mutchler
Arshpreet Kaur Mallhi


work-life balance, stress-reducing program, work community, workplace wellness


Introduction: Stress and burnout continue to have negative impacts on teachers. Wellness programs have reported to help improve teachers’ quality of life, social life, reduce stress, and increase awareness of healthy choices. The purpose of this paper is to explore teachers’ perceptions and experiences of a fitness and mindfulness program. 

Methods:  Semi-structured interview guides were used in the three separate focus groups that were conducted following each of the three 9-week fitness and mindfulness programs serving as an intervention for elementary school teachers to reduce stress. Focus groups included all female participants between the ages of 22-64 years old with one to 21 years of experience in the classroom. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Two themes and subsequent themes were found: (1) work-life balance (subthemes: Implementing mindfulness techniques; Feeling ok leaving work; Self-care) and (2) building community (subthemes: Developed community; Accountability; and Level of comfort).

Conclusions: The finding revealed that teachers improved their work-life balance through self-care, implementation of mindfulness techniques, accountability, and comfort with co-workers. The participants reported developing a workplace community. Overall, the results support that elementary teachers perceived a 9-week fitness and mindfulness program to have a positive impact on workplace wellbeing.

Abstract 155 | PDF Downloads 104


1. Wu D. Relationship between job burnout and mental health of teachers under work stress. Rev. Argentina de Clin. Psicol. 2020;29(1):310. Doi:10.24205/03276716.2020.41
2. Agyapong B, Obuobi-Donkor G, Burback L, Wei Y. Stress, burnout, anxiety and depression among teachers: A scoping review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(17):10706. Doi: 10.3390/ijerph191710706
3. Kotowski SE, Davis KG, Barratt CL. Teachers feeling the burden of covid-19: Impact on well-being, stress, and burnout. Work. 2022; 1-9. Doi:10.3233/WOR-210994
4. von der Embse N, Ryan SV, Gibbs T, Mankin A. Teacher stress interventions: A systematic review. Psychol. Sch. 2019;56(8):1328-1343. Doi.org/10.1002/pits.22279
5. Taylor SG, Zarrett N, Roberts AM. The relation between early adolescent physical activity and internalizing problems: Variations in exercise motivations as a critical moderator. J Early Adolesc. 2020;40(5):662-688. Doi: 10.1177/0272431619870612
6. Lever N, Mathis E, Mayworm A. School mental health is not just for students: Why teacher and school staff wellness matters. Rep Emot Behav Disord Youth. 2017;17(1):6.
7. Parker EA, McArdle PF, Gioia D, et al. An onsite fitness facility and integrative wellness program positively impacted health-related outcomes among teachers and staff at an urban elementary/middle school. Glob Adv Health Med. 2019; Doi: 10.1177/2164956119873276.
8. Anbalagan S. Work-life balance of higher secondary school teachers. Journal of Positive School Psychology. 2022;6(2):5015-5023.