I wrote this while enjoying my two-week winter vacation. Completing lists of neglected chores and appointments, I felt as though I would get back to equilibrium by the time school resumed. What I discovered, though, is that as much as I tried to recharge, I simply drained my battery too much this past fall.
Like a car whose lights were left on inadvertently, I too needed a jump start. This got me thinking. With the tremendous pressures and critiques we as teachers endure on a daily basis, what are we doing to regain balance?
This feeling of being overwhelmed has begun to consume me throughout my day, sapping my mood, my physical stamina, and optimism. At this point, I have two real options. I can continue complaining in the teacher's lounge -- and see my job satisfaction continue to decrease, and even possibly see my career shortened -- or I can decide to make changes to my daily routines, with the hope that these changes will rejuvenate me.
In order make these changes though, I have to begin focusing on all three aspects of my health: mental, physical, and emotional. As a starting point, I need to first identify areas of opportunity for improvement in my health as a teacher:
- Reduce the time I spend at home working on teaching tasks, in order to devote more time to my children.
- Schedule "me time" on the calendar in order to work out, pursue outside interests beyond teaching, etc.
- Create a support network, and allow those around me to provide support or join in an activity alongside me.
- Increase the time I spend reflecting on life balance and job satisfaction; develop goals and accountability measures to increase the quality and amount of reflection I engage in.
- Decrease negative thoughts regarding job satisfaction.
- Develop a healthier lifestyle by increasing time for physical activity and decreasing unhealthy foods in my diet.
I've decided to challenge myself to achieve these goals, and I want to go public with those challenges. I'd also like to invite you to join me as I #TchStressAway. To that end, for four weeks during the month of February, I'll be sending out 12 challenges via a Remind class, designed for us as teachers to take control of our teacher health. Each challenge will be in response to the goals listed above. I encourage you to try the activity or task in a way that fits your own lifestyle. Then, share your photo on Twitter or Instagram using the #TchStressAway hashtag. Feel free to tag @teachingchannel also, so we can share our progress with even more teachers.
Sign up for my Remind class at https://www.remind.com/join/tchstre to get each of the challenges. Remind will send a free text message to you introducing the challenge.
Together, let's take back our personal health, make our staff rooms warm places for refueling ourselves, and develop an online professional community focused on improving job satisfaction and balance!