I’m gonna be real here.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk since this school year started. And I’m in the South, so that was two months ago. I’m doing that thing that I used to do in my old life that I promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore. I’m waiting. Promising myself that it will be better as soon as…
Except some of those milestones have passed and I’m still waiting. And still funky.
I can enumerate the reasons I’ve been funkified:
- I’m feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Yes, I know I say this every fall. Yet this year feels worse (even though I know I say that every year too). I’m needed more by some of the other teachers this year and I’m struggling to balance their needs with the needs of my students (along with trying to remember that I have needs too and these are just as valid). I keep waiting for the groove to come, but I’m not sure it will.
- My husband underwent cervical fusion at the end of August. It was stressful waiting for the surgery (there was a minimal but very real risk of paralysis if there was any impact to the neck before the fusion). And of course, surgery itself is scary. The procedure went well and healing is progressing nicely. But it’s still hard. I’ve had to take on more and he’s without his normal martial arts outlet, which takes a toll on both of us.
- I haven’t had much social connection since school started. I do best with social contact about once a week or so. I’ve had only two encounters with friends in the past month. Definitely not sufficient, especially because I’m pretty isolated from adult contact at work.
- Many of my favorite podcasts are still on summer hiatus. Trivial, I know. except it’s not. Between my morning dog walk, my commute and my monotonous teacher tasks (like collating and stapling unit summaries), I can easily consume about three hours of audio content a day. So when it’s limited, I notice.
- This one is 100% my fault. I slipped on the daily gratitude journal again. It’s been easy to claim that I’m too busy. Except it takes less than 60 seconds, so that’s utter bullshit. I’m not too busy. I’m too IN the busy. And still stuck on the mindset that if I just keep my head down and keep pushing, I’ll push through and have space to breathe.
- And probably the hardest part – when I’ve shared with others that I’m struggling, they seem to dismiss it. Minimize it. It could be that I’m overly sensitive to this, but I think it’s because they have the perception that I don’t fall apart (or haven’t in the last nine years, at least). So they assume that I’m okay, even when I try to say that I’m not. It’s a key problem of being one of the “strong ones.”
I haven’t been all-bad though. I’ve prioritized yoga. I’ve been taking some time to read and I even joined a book club (a first ever for me). I have committed to and maintained a hard 8:00 pm deadline to put work aside no matter how unfinished it is. I sought out some new-to-me podcasts (thank you By the Book; you’ve made this week much better!) and made the trip to renew my library card so that I can again download audio books. I switched gyms to one that is closer, cheaper and has the most bad-ass treadmill-ish contraption that allows me to do sprints inside. And I love coming home to a puppy that insists that play is important no matter how much work there is to do.
I need to do better though. To find a way to breathe within this chaos instead of waiting for the chaos to end. Because it won’t. Chaos is a part of life. All that changes is the particular tone and texture of it.
I keep coming back to the book my club discussed earlier this month – 29 Gifts. It describes a woman’s resolution to give – and document – 29 gifts in 29 days. I liked the idea, especially since I’ve been feeling somewhat resentful over the amount of myself I’m having to give right now. I’m not ready to do the full challenge right now, but I’m really working on shifting my thinking around what I’m doing – seeing my time as a gift rather than something being taken from me. It’s a small step, but it is a step. After all, how many times do I tell people that we have limited control over what happens to us, but a lot of say in how we respond to it?
Next week is fall break. I’m viewing it as an opportunity for a big ol’ reset. Do some self-care, visit with friends, get some sleep and put some things in place to keep me grounded and sane when the intensity (which just aptly auto-corrected to “insanity”) picks up again.
Because I refuse to allow this funk to follow me into October.
Please hold me accountable.