Earlier this week, I was quickly thumbing through my emails on my smartphone during lunch break when I came across one of Lisa’s blog posts: "Mentoring Monday: Take The Time To Do What Inspires You!" It just seemed like one of those moments where time slows down, something clicks inside your head, and you suddenly realize you needed that little slice of clarity and just did not know it. It was an A-HA! moment: Girl, you need to slow down and smell the coffee!
Let me be honest here: I am very, very close to burning out at work. I’m now into my eighth month of teaching, but feel like it’s the first day. Most new teachers would have found a rhythm and sense of self as a new teacher by this point, but with the constant changing demands at work, I was feeling very lost, tired, and frustrated. I was spending hours on lesson plans, staying up late to grade papers and get ahead of the paper trap, and using my weekends to drive to work and print materials ahead of time. There was no time to go to the gym, read email or curl up on the couch with a book, or catch up with family and friends. I was losing myself, and resenting work for it.
My physical and emotional deterioration was also becoming apparent to family and colleagues. One of my coworkers pulled me aside, and said something that really struck me.
Right now, you’re giving 300% every day. It’s admirable, but not sustainable. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, but don’t sweat the small details. There’s nothing wrong with leaving it at 100%.
Then I read Lisa’s blog post, and I thought to myself: Wow, this is the universe’s way of sending me a message–small, unrelated, but convenient incidents linked together. The post made me stop and think…
What do I want more of in my everyday life?
I want to be good at my job. I want the little gold stickers–appreciation, recognition for the hardwork and extra miles I go through for everyone. I want to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. I want to enjoy teaching. I want to feel proud of the work that I do. I want balance. I want more time to sit down and reflect. I want to look in the mirror and see a healthy and happy person looking back at me.
What do I need to do less of, and more of?
I need to stop obsessing over details, and be fine with 100%. I need to stop beating myself up over not crossing everything off my to-do list, and be more accepting of what I have already completed and accomplished. I need to do less worrying, and more time refocusing on personal priorities, such as my well-being and relationships. I need less flawless perfection, more meditation. I need less sleepless nights, and more peaceful rest. I need to accept the fact that right now at work there are many things I can’t control or change. However, there are other things I can control and can change. I can control the way I choose to think. I can be more willing to see things differently, and act more positively.
So I am setting small goals for myself for this week and next week. Giving myself 1-hour time limit to work on grading and lesson plans at home. Scheduling yoga sessions on Saturdays to de-stress. Setting 10 minutes aside to reflect and meditate. Picking up the camera again and find other inspirations. Sitting down and enjoying my coffee!