Who ever said that teachers have it easy clearly has never walked a day in our shoes. I mean the story is the same no matter who you talk to. People who are not married to, the parent of, or close friends with a teacher really have no idea what our lives are like. Don't get me wrong, the reward is so great that all the stress and craziness is worth it. However, those that believe we only work 8-3, have weekends off, three months in the summer and then the endless holidays during the year clearly have some learning to do. Add to the stress if you have a blog, marketplace where you sell your lessons and creations to supplement your little teacher salary. It can get overwhelming!
Yes, Yes....we have all argued over just how hard teachers work. It seems like an endless argument that has been going on for generations. So why continue to add to the stress we are already feeling from high-stakes tests, lesson planning, EOY evaluations, and non-perfect family lives. Why don't we focus on how to make our lives a little less stressed. DISCLAIMER: While the following tips are AMAZING in my opinion...I must admit I am just beginning my journey to less stress and will let you know if I have achieved a perfect balance between work, family, and sanity! Never know until you try right?
That's right! Break each task down into steps and only tackle one thing at a time. I know this goes against everything that teachers have running through their veins. But I believe that most of teacher stress comes from the inhuman amount of multitasking that we put on ourselves. True there will be a certain amount of multitasking that has to be done. Especially if you have kids that play sports or other extra curricular activities. However, I want to try to make things a bit more important and give my full focus and attention to whatever I am working on. So how do you do this?
Well for me I plan on setting up a schedule. AND STICKING TO IT! This is where the trick for me will be. I can plan a schedule like the experts...sticking to it on the other hand..that's where I fall short. So, I am sitting down with my family and having a little family meeting. They know how much I work, they know that I often spend movie time with them while writing a blog post or working on a classroom lesson packet. I answer emails during our evenings together sitting watching our weekly shows or I am grading papers (you know you do this, too)! I am not saying that this won't happen ever again. I am saying that I will do my best to BE WITH MY FAMILY when we are having these moments.
What will my schedule look like? I don't know yet...but I will have to set something up that allows me to work on school, products, and spend time with family without feeling like I am only giving 50% to each of those at any given time!
I have realized that my family is growing up! My son, 19, leaves for the U.S. Air Force in May and both my daughters will be out of the house in only 4 short years (one leaving for college in 2 and the other 2 years behind that). I will have so much ALONE time at that point that I will wish I had this precious time back. So take time to watch a silly movie with them! Bake with them, share family dinners and just sit back and laugh and giggle together. Just BE...enjoy each other and stop thinking to yourself that you are wasting time you could be working!
Please, Please, Please do not throw things at me through the computer! Before you send the henchmen after me let me confess this one is going to be the HARDEST and probably closest to IMPOSSIBLE one for me to do! But I can also testify to the benefit! Last spring I participated in a little contest at my school for weight loss. Yep...a Biggest Loser contest! I WON!! I was so excited! Lost 40lbs and man I felt AMAZING! I was super excited to go to Vegas last year because I thought I looked great and I was feeling great! Even won some play money to take with me by winning! How did I do it? Well yep there was a little exercise and I did watch what I ate---KINDA---but the big thing I cut out? Energy drinks and caffeine! Yep that's right! Sodas (even DIET) and energy drinks give you short bursts of energy but that crash afterwards is worse than a hangover! I am too old (did I just say that) to recover from the crash. So I am seriously going to try to get back on that wagon and AHEM....lose the weight again and feel better!
Yes you must! I know that we often get so wrapped up in taking care of others and work that we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! This is actually something I have no problem with! When I need to be ALONE I just tell everyone around me and I finally learned the word NO! I used to say yes to everything that everyone needed a volunteer for! Kids team mom, school functions...you name it I said YES! Superwoman was my middle name! Not anymore! I will take time to go get my nails done, my pedicures, and even a stinking massage once a month! I work my tail off and I will reward myself! Once you start enjoying that me time, you will find, like me, that you will never give it up! So whatever it is you enjoy doing...DO IT GIRL! You deserve it!
No matter how tough it gets, or how hairy your life seems, remember that somewhere out there someone is worse off than you! I know, we all heard that from our parents at some point! But it is true! Our lives are hectic and stressful for us but to someone else it might look like a walk in the park. Don't compare your life to another and that goes for your stress as well! Don't judge others who say they are stressed either! LOL! Be grateful for what you do have. Are you tired and don't want to go watch one....more....softball game? GUILTY! Are you sick of going to pick up your athlete from practice and sit for an additional hour because the coach wasn't quite ready to let them go? GUILTY! Are you tired of cooking dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and then having to argue over who is doing the dishes? GUILTY! Simply add you own little thing that adds to your stress and remember....someone out there would give anything to be in your shoes!
Now I admit I am no expert on not being stressed! But here is a good place to start! I am going to start today by finishing up this blog post (while my softball player is napping between games), check on my sick teenager who I took to the clinic today and found out she has STREP, clean up the kitchen from the lunch I picked up on the way home from the clinic, go sit and soak in a hot bath and read some blogs I have been missing out on for MONTHS and simply relax....I might even take a NAP!! GASP!! Say it isn't so!!! Yep my peeps....this teacher blogger entrepreneur is ready to take back her life and remind myself how fun this blogging creating resources thing was when I first started!
If you are ready say it: I TAKE BACK MY LIFE, MY HAPPINESS, MY JOY AND I START LIVING AND CREATING WHAT MAKES MY HEART FULL!