Maybe it’s the change of seasons; maybe it’s the fact an educator has a haul of ten weeks straight, without even a long weekend; maybe it’s the realization that there is not a single month of a school year that is calm (even though we tell ourselves there is…every month); maybe it’s the knowledge that the school year is ending and there remains a LOT of curriculum to cover.
I, for one, have no idea what happens in February and March, but something happens. People tend to have fewer filters, less self-restraint, and lower levels of patience. This time of year, especially, we need to take extra-good care of ourselves.
This post could have gone two ways: how absolutely unbalanced I feel at
times some point every work day and how I am pretty sure I’ve maxed out on stress so much that I’m currently delirious OR I could share some things I’ve been doing to attempt to balance out the stress overload. No one needs to feel my stress, so I chose the latter. I hope what I have shared is helpful; better yet, I hope they inspire you to do some things just. for. you.
Please comment below with some things you are doing for yourself right now 🙂 Please!
Make time for friends
I will admit the truth: right before I’m meant to leave for a friend date or social gathering, I become really negative: “I should just go home and go to bed; I’m wiped.” “I don’t have the energy to hold a conversation.” “I have more important things to do around the house and for work.” blah blah blah. Then, I have to remind myself how good I feel after being around other people, even if it was a short coffee date. It’s worth it. Social interaction (that does not involve school-talk) replenishes the soul. We all need it. Make the time.
I have noticed that when I’m becoming overly stressed, I don’t take the time to meditate every day. That makes no sense, whatsoever. When I don’t meditate, I’m less of the person I strive to be. I’ll admit that I fell off the meditation wagon in February. The effects I saw in myself were not pretty: I was not a great listener, I became very critical, I was less focused, and I wasn’t as present in the classroom.
Sitting meditation aside, being mindful throughout the day is totally doable and beneficial. Each of the following ideas for some mindful moments will take me 1-3 minutes, and they add up through the day.
- During the anthem in the morning, breathe.
- When you go to the bathroom, stay in the stall just a little longer, and breathe. Don’t judge me for doing this.
- As you’re refilling your water bottle, breathe.
- At the start of your planning block, just breathe.
- As your lunch is heating up, breathe.
- When the kids leave the room for recess, breathe.
- Before you leave for the day, sit in your car, and breathe.
There are two apps that notify you randomly to slow your roll. They’re great for different reasons: Remindfulness sends mini-reminders throughout your day with little messages to be mindful. They’re kind and thoughtful. WeCroak reminds you that you’re going to die five times a day (errr…seriously), and encourages you to contemplate your mortality, do some conscious breathing, or meditate. I think it’s hilarious.
Men, this is just as important for you as it is for women. What makes you feel like you are a prince or princess? Is it a game of golf? Is it getting a massage? Whatever it is, do it. Regularly. Since February, I’ve upped this aspect of my self-care, and my wallet has definitely felt it. I buy Groupons, go to new stores, and use the Entertainer app to get deals that help me stay away from red throughout the month. Okay, at least until the last week… (nervous laugh).
Check Your Thoughts
It can be super easy to fall into stride with complaining co-workers; be cautious of what you say and think because it can become your reality. Better yet, catch your thoughts and reframe them. This would be a chapter out of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (C.B.T.); they’ve named some common unhelpful thinking habits. It takes time to get used to catching them, but it can change your whole outlook once you’ve got it down and reframe your thoughts. Reframing the thought is a result of asking yourself, honestly, “Is this thought true? How can I rephrase it so that it is a true statement?”
- Fortune Telling: Predicting the future (usually with negative outcomes).
- “That won’t work out, so there’s no point in trying.”
- “I’d make a mess of that; I’m not ready.”
- “I’ll go to that meeting, but I won’t enjoy it.”
- Mind Reading: Assuming we know what others are thinking.
- “He thinks I’m an idiot.”
- “She wants the principal to hate me.”
- “He did that out of spite and jealousy.”
- Personalizing: Assuming full responsibility for a negative outcome.
- “It’s all my fault.”
- “I could have done so much more.”
- “If I had just ____, things would’ve been better.”
- Labeling: Making a negative claim about yourself to explain the situation.
- “I’m a ditz.”
- “I am not a quick learner.”
- “I make a mess of everything; that’s just me.”
- Should Statements: Defining what you should or shouldn’t do.
- “I have to join this book club.”
- “I must spend more hours at work like Joe.”
- “This job should be so much easier.”
- All or Nothing Thinking: Thinking in black or white terms.
- “He’s the best teacher.” “He shouldn’t be a teacher.”
- “She’s always late.”
- “I’ll never get this.”
- Catastrophizing: Assuming the worst possible explanation.
- “This is the worst day ever.”
- “I’ve ruined everyone’s day.”
- “This can’t get any worse.”
- Ignoring Positives: Recognizing positive experiences as an exception to the rule.
- “She only said that because she had to.”
- “Yeah, but ___.”
- “Everything else went wrong, though!”
Being an educator
can be IS very tough. We give and give and give. We will never be finished planning or learning or reflecting. So, please take the time to care for yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for those kiddos who need you so much.
Also, wine. Sorry, I had to be real.
Shoutout to the #compelledtribe for letting me join their fabulous blogging tribe!