This time of year I usually feel a little shocked that it’s this far into the school year. There have been days I wanted to curl up on the couch or go to bed for the week. If you’re feeling drained, read on. Let’s stop and consider how to get through a slump, reflect on the school year and move on with some renewed energy.
Typically, I stop to reflect around January, after I’ve been on a break for a couple of weeks and it feels like I’ve had a good rest. However, any time of the year (or week, or day) is good for reflecting.
If things are going great, that’s great! If the semester hasn’t been going as planned, take the same advice you would give any student: treat tomorrow like a clean slate. Hit a reset button if it feels like things are going downhill or not quite functioning like you imagined.
A Few Things to Try
Leave work at work. Maybe you need to really, I mean really, detach yourself from work. Do you stay later and later each day? Set a time to leave and stick to it. Go home and immerse yourself in something you love to do.
Do something that’s not usual. Go to a different grocery store. Walk a new route. Turn off TV and technology for the entire weekend. Make a new meal. Call up a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
Reflect on the past few weeks. Has the semester been productive? Life-affirming? Energy draining? What is working? Do you need to change anything? If so, what? Take out paper and pencil and write out your thoughts.
Celebrate your victories. Take time to consider things that are going well. Feel good about your accomplishments. You’ve already attended numerous meetings, taught dozens of classes and had thousands of conversations. Nice work.
Now, think about things that might not be working. Is your schedule feeling a little off? Are you not getting everything planned out like you thought? Weed out any extra things that are not necessary if you feel overwhelmed. It’s OK to schedule NOTHING.
Identify one or two things that drain your energy. Now, make a plan to deal with it. Are you procrastinating about something? Address it. Stop thinking about it and do something to get it off your desk and out of your mind.
Stop looking at email all day long. I didn’t realize how draining it was to constantly check emails throughout the day. I used to have notifications dinging all the time on my computer and phone. Then I figured out it was ok to schedule specific times of the day to check emails. I turned off alerts. I closed the tab for email. It was liberating.
Finally, just realize you are enough and you are not alone. Keep taking care of yourself and keep connecting with people who care.
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