Unexpected time off, unexpected thoughts

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

To borrow an overused word, it’s been a ‘surreal’ start to my spring break as a classroom teacher. This is the first time I’ve had a spring break in my educational career, and while I thought I would be giving myself a long to-do list to accomplish this week, I find myself in thoughtful contemplation more often than tackling the list.

This contemplative state has much to do with the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 and the unknowns it has created. A one week spring break has turned into an indefinite future, and I find myself a little lost, annoyed, and yet relaxed.

Lost because school districts in my state are in a holding pattern right now. My district’s leaders are trying to figure out how to best serve our students moving forward. While we were told to relax and enjoy the break, it’s a challenge not knowing how things are going to be moving forward.

Even though there are unknowns, there are things I can control. I’ve already given myself a daily schedule to keep me on track with self-care, learning, and entertainment. I have two daily exercise routines in place, one through the Shred app and the other by going for a walk with my husband so we get some fresh air. If nothing else, I’m going to be in great shape!

However, following so many small businesses on Instagram is breaking my heart as they are closing indefinitely, adjusting hours to be in alignment with state guidelines by offering curbside and/or takeout options, sending reminders about their online stores, etc. I think about everyone in the service industry who suddenly find themselves without an income. There are always things we can do. Buy gift cards at favorite eateries to use in the future when they are back on their feet, or send a little love to your service professionals via Venmo when you have to reschedule with them. I keep trying to think about ways to be supportive.

I also think about the parents who can’t take their kids to daycare, because it is closed for now and they have to figure out how they are going to continue working while also caring for their kids. While it doesn’t solve the riddle of financial strain, this is a gift of time. Read with your kids, take them outside and go for a walk, play games, build a fort in the living room, draw pictures, put puzzles together, bake with them, teach them life skills, etc.

Teaching myself to slow down and relax is paramount right now. I’m reminding myself how truly blessed I am and that the world is hurting right now. Healthcare professionals are already exhausted and facilities are maxed out. While it doesn’t seem to be enough, I’m spending more time in prayer. I’m praying that people use common sense by staying home as much as possible. I’m praying that world leaders make decisions that are in the best interest of their citizens and that as citizens we follow them. This is not the time to be a precocious, stubborn child who does not want to be told what to do. Being selfless means thinking about others instead of doing what we want to do when we want to do it.

While I want to go out for a coffee with my friend, head to the bookstore to get the book that was ordered for me, and go to my hair appointment to get the gray out, home is where I will be. I hope you will be too.

Published by Christine Denker

I love all that life offers, I believe that mistakes make the best lessons, and I work to make the world a more positive place.

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