I’ve reached a breaking point today. I do this several times a year. I think we (teachers) all do.
I want to be awesome, but no human being could possibly. I want to be an excellent teacher, effective for the kids and for my fellow teachers. But mostly, I just feel inadequate. I give my job everything, and I have nothing left for other people, for my family and friends, for myself, for any sort of possibility of anything new to happen in my life (we are talking about men, among other things!)…and yet, my job still wants more from me.
This is all more feelings than truth, I’m sure you understand.
And yet…my feelings are important for two reasons. One, how I feel IS my experience of the world. I deserve to pursue a life of joy and peace and purpose. Two, my feelings can be powerful indicators that something is wrong.
And so, I am motivated to finally start something I have been thinking about for over a year. In the theme of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I intend to make choices and build habits that will make my life better, especially related to teaching.
October’s habit is going to be the biggest part of the project, I think. It is also a part that doesn’t entirely relate to teaching. I think of it as “the big three.”
One…a daily green smoothie.
Two…a daily workout.
Three…a good night’s sleep.
The goal would be to do each of these things most days. Maybe five or six days a week each, but I’m not measuring. (My 2013 resolution of not measuring has really shown me who I am and how measuring things makes me crazy!)
It is so easy to live my life in “emergency mode” throughout the school year. Staying up late, relying on extra shots of espresso in my latte to get me through, eating lots of take-out, always promising to go to the gym tomorrow or this weekend or next week.
Emergency mode is physically exhausting. I’m afraid emergency mode is going to cause actual health issues.
Starting with three daily habits is…big. Sort of life-encompassing. And I wouldn’t start this way except that none of these things are new to me, and I know they are all habits that greatly, GREATLY increase my mood, energy, and health. I’m just going to make a concerted effort for consistency, an effort to make them a priority.
Ah, the big word no one handles well…priority. If I really want to do this, it won’t be easy. There will be hard choices to make. Every night, every single night, I feel as though there are work-related things I could do that are much more important than getting to the gym or going to bed. But here’s the thing…they are not. I will be a better teacher tomorrow if I run a couple miles and sleep eight hours tonight, but that’s not the point either. The point is, I will be a happier person if I consider these three things to be a need, not a luxury.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t connect this to my spirituality somehow, right? 🙂
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:38-39) Jesus says these are to be my priorities: Loving God, loving others, and loving self. I can’t feel that connection to God when I’m in emergency mode. I can’t love others with my actions when I’m barely making it through the day myself. And I can’t pretend that neglecting such important habits as food, sleep, and exercise is being loving toward myself. How much better I am for God, for others, and for myself when I am consistent with wise choices about what I eat, how much I exercise, and how much I sleep!
(Just reread…this is not the most well-written blog post! But I’m going to click “publish” anyway, because this message, imperfect as it is, is something I need to come back to and read during the month of October!)