Hello Educators. I hope you are hanging in there and managing through the ups and downs of this season. Question for you…how many days until the next holiday break? Even during a typical school year, the countdown to the holidays would start right about now. This year is far from typical and as districts are working through reopening, you are likely feeling a myriad of emotions which may amount to a sense of overwhelm.
If this is accurate for you, trust that you are not alone and that even those who appear to have it all together are still managing a level of uncertainty and challenge with many more questions than answers. You are in good company if you are finding it difficult to find a routine or a flow that makes sense for your life. It simply is the reality of where we are at this time. As I’ve been considering this time that we are in, a few points are helping me accept what is and release what I must to maintain a sense of peace. Try a few of these on and see if they can support you even just a little bit.
Approach this season as the unique one that it is and be open to new approaches to old challenges. If you are finding that your typical approaches are not quite so successful, consider the new context and the notion that nothing is as it appears this year. Students, families, colleagues, and even you are managing personal stressors and challenges that weigh on all aspects of our lives and there is no switch to turn it off to “do school”. Give yourself some space and be open to identifying new ways of being and approaching the common and not so common challenges that may arise this year.
Take it one day, one hour, one task, at a time. When you find yourself thinking of the millions of tasks that need completion without enough time to address them all, ask yourself, “What is the most important next step that I need to complete?” Whatever that is for you, give it your full focus and then move on to the next most important step. I find that the overwhelm is the heaviest when I’m looking at the broader picture of everything that needs to be accomplished rather than just focusing on just the day in front of me. The reality is that I am simply not equipped to manage my entire portfolio of tasks at this very moment. No one is. But we are equipped to manage the tasks that we have at the moment. I am enough to handle this moment in time and when the next moment, I will be enough as well. Try holding onto that as an affirmation to get you through the day.
Shed whatever feeds the overwhelm and take in more of what minimizes it. As you go about your life, identify the different elements that increase your level of stress or may even leave you feeling deflated or unmotivated to move forward. How do you feel after you listen to the news? How does time on social media impact your emotional state? What are the time zappers in your life that leave you feeling depleted? What conversations and with whom work as triggers in your life? Also, what leaves you feeling re-energized and refreshed? We have a finite amount of energy each day so protecting it and using it strategically is critical. As you go about your days, start noticing what robs you of peace, joy, and emotional and/or mental strength, and take steps to begin to limit or eliminate those triggers from your life. If you cannot eliminate, counterbalance the negativity by supporting your mind, body, and spirit in ways that you find rejuvenating and uplifting.
The overwhelm is real and it may remain difficult for a bit before getting better. Figuring out how to manage it all in a way that works for you personally can make the difference that you need. Before we get swept up into the frenzy of the upcoming election, next week, on top of everything that is already occurring, take some time to figure out your plan of wellness. I’m certain you will be happy you did.
In Solidarity and Love,