I chose to ignore what people were saying during the school year. Right and left, I noticed quotes and comments on Instagram and Twitter about teachers saying how tired they were. Allies were saying the same thing about us.
I chose to ignore what was being said, because I’m a firm believer that even if you don’t feel a certain way that you soon start being influenced if you read it or see it often enough.
It’s like the story about buying a car. You don’t see your particular style of car on the road until you buy it. Suddenly you see it everywhere.
Why? Because you weren’t looking for it previously. Once you do, then you begin to notice it.
I felt the same way about teaching during a pandemic. People everywhere were talking about how tired we were, but I chose to ignore it. I didn’t want to fall prey to herd mentality. There were days I felt fatigued, but then again, who teaches all day long wearing a mask? Eventually, I got used to the routine. I got used to coming home with no energy, not working out, forcing myself to stay up until 9:00, and then dragging myself to bed. I got used to waking up needing more coffee than usual to get through the day and not feeling rested.
I didn’t complain though, because I thought about our healthcare workers during the pandemic. I thought about all the PPE they wore for 12+ hours a day. I thought about all the death and dying that surrounded them with each shift and difficult decisions they had to make. Even though things are better overall, the threat isn’t over and they are still dealing with a lot. I thought about people who were working in the service industry during the pandemic. The small business owners trying to stay afloat over the last 15+ months.
Who was I to think that I was more tired than anyone else? So, I didn’t. I soldiered on just like everyone else.
In short, I didn’t think about it until the school year ended. Now that I’m into my third week of summer break, I get it.
I am tired.
I have a new lease on life, and I feel incredibly grateful.
What am I doing differently?
Oddly enough, I know this because I’m appreciating this summer more than any other during my 27 year career in education. It has to do with the time I’ve been able to spend with my grandson. It has to do with the pure giddiness of being able to get out and about more. It has to do with the fact that I’m chasing new pursuits (Can we say, yoga certification?).
I’m doing a better job of not wasting days, but I’m also listening to my body more. A few days ago, I had a huge migraine and I opted to stay in my pajamas for the entire day and I took a two-hour nap. It’s called self-care.
I’m putting more social outings on my calendar. Because I’m fully vaccinated, I feel more comfortable getting out. The United States is trending in the right direction and I hang out with like-minded people. I’ve been reaching out to friends for coffee dates, went to a winery with teacher friends, enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with family, and have hit up the farmers market twice so far with my husband.
After listening to Brogan Graham on the Rich Roll podcast, I started sending friends and family short video messages. They are 60-90 second messages that you send to people for a variety of reasons. Mine are focused on how much I appreciate them and the story they have played in my life.
I’m taking more time to read, journal, and bible study each morning. I take a bubble bath and give myself a facial once a week. I’m trying to eat better (work in progress), drink more water, and sleep 7-8 hours a night. My husband and I are getting out for a 20-30 minute walk each morning.
And that’s a wrap.
I realize I’m fortunate that I get so much time off in the summer to recharge, and that is not lost on me. I’m hoping that I take some of what I’m doing so far beyond the summer. If nothing else, this pandemic has taught me to appreciate what I have and to cherish the moments. Let go of what no longer serves me, and that includes toxic relationships. Show more compassion to myself and to others.
Be gentle. Be kind. Be love.