Throughout the year, I am guilty of getting caught up in the busyness of the daily grind. I never keep up with the latest Billboard Top 100s, the celebrity gossip, trending shows on Netflix or what is new in the theaters. Additionally, I seem to never find enough time to do the things I love like crafting, reading, etc. Naturally, the break seemed like the perfect time to do all of the things I don’t normally get to. With the break nearing the end, how many things on my list have I done do you ask? Not one.
Did I read the books I intended? No. In fact, they are on my desk in my classroom because I forgot to grab them as I flew out the door once the bell rang.
Did I binge watch any shows or catch up on my favorites I have missed? Absolutely not. In fact, the TV hasn’t been on very much. When it has, the remote control is never under my command.
Did I clean my house? No. My Christmas tree is still up as are all of the decorations. I even have some laundry that hasn’t been put away in over a week.
Did I break out my Cricut machine and craft my heart out with all of the projects I saved on Pinterest? No. Not in the slightest. I haven’t even turned it on in almost a month.
With all of the resolutions people are posting, I am exhausted thinking about all of the commitments, energy, and creativity that seems to be inspiring everyone EXCEPT me at the moment. I thought about downing some energy drinks and sucking it up to begin to tackle the emails, grading, and cleaning while I still have a little time left. Then I came across this while choosing to peruse Facebook instead.
It was then that I immediately decided to ignore the inner voice that made me feel “less than” for choosing to “slack off” during my break.
We have all heard the phrase… You cannot pour from an empty cup. I wholeheartedly believe that this sentiment works both ways. We cannot give to others if we do not feel whole ourselves. Our intentions can always be from the heart, but intentions don’t create change. Actions do, and sometimes, I simply do not have enough energy to act in ways I would like.
The same can be said for our students. As a adult, if I am in need of a physical, mental, and emotional break, then our KIDS are in need as well. We need to be able to model these moments for kids, too.
So here is what I DID do. I spent time with my family doing nothing except enjoying each other’s company. We played board games, painted rainbows, we colored endless amounts of pages in new coloring books with fresh markers, and we went to more movies in the past week than we did the entire semester. (Trust me, I probably ate my weight in movie theater popcorn. #noregrets) Our favorites were Aquaman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Mary Poppins Returns.
Getting lost in movies, relaxing, allowing myself to NOT feel guilty about the stack of papers I didn’t grade or the stack of books I didn’t read has been one of the best decisions I have made in the last year. I vow to ensure that I make time for more “breaks” not only for myself, but for my students as well.
I came across this post on We are Teachers entitled Why “Think Positive” Isn’t Always Enough (For Teachers or for Kids) This shift in thinking might be what is needed in order to make sure that this “balance” continues in my classroom. Being realistic about what we need, when we need it, and why we need it might be the missing piece to accomplishing goals without feeling burnt out and overworked. This post highlights a WOOP strategy in setting realistic expectations and goals for both students and teachers.
It is definitely worth a try.
What are some ways you balance the burnout?
Gena Mendoza teaches High School English in San Antonio, Texas. At the moment, she is savoring every second spent cuddling her family, including her 2 human and 2 fur children. She loves a good fluffy blanket and pair of fuzzy socks to get her through the rest of her break. She invites you to connect with her on Twitter at @Mrs_Mendoza3