How I Give Myself a (Much-Needed) Break
It’s no secret, but I don’t always have my shit together.
You don’t seem as shocked as I expected you to be…
Sometimes, I don’t want to keep up on my lesson planning and grading and documenting and data analyzing.
Sometimes, I don’t want to meal prep on Sunday so I can have lunches I actually like to eat during the week.
Sometimes, I don’t want to cook myself dinner when my daughter is spending time with her dad (yes, I know that this will be a thing I will have to do when she heads off to college, but I’m not ready to address that issue just yet).
Sometimes, I get stressed out by all the details and responsibilities and to-dos and deadlines. Sometimes, I’m just tired.
I do this to myself; this overthinking and over-analyzing is just part of my personality. And it’s exhausting.
But life still expects me to be capable and responsible and get my shit together.
I’ve had to learn that stressing myself into immobility isn’t really effective; this literally accomplishes nothing.
I’ve had to learn to give myself permission to take a fucking break.
I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to take some time to re-calibrate and just do what ever I want to do, like:
I hit snooze, stay in bed, and cuddle with my dogs. They’re rescue dogs; they deserve to be over-loved for the rest of their lives. That’s the excuse I tell myself anyway.
I give myself an extra few minutes to dawdle by using dry shampoo. To protect my chocolate chip cookie hair color, I try to only wash my hair a few times a week. Honestly, by the time Friday comes, my hair is like 90% Batiste dry shampoo.
I blog instead of grading papers. Totally acceptable. Technically, grading is a form of writing, and blogging really is writing so, in essence, I’m just reallocating my writing responsibilities. Yeah. That’s what I’m doing.
I grab a sandwich on the way to work. If I’m really just not in the mood to make my salad for lunch, I run to the grocery store and buy a deli sandwich – usually chicken salad. Laziness is no reason to force myself to eat a school lunch; that’s a bit too drastic a punishment!
Fine. I sometimes grab a Twix or Snickers bar. Don’t judge me. I can’t even say that the daughter put it in my cart. It’s me. I bought the candy bar. I just wanted the candy bar, okay?!?
I take a nap when I get home from school. Like a Kindergartner. I even change into my pajamas and get my pillow and blanket and lay on the couch with the television on for background noise. Just like nap time back in the day. Honestly, an hour nap makes the rest of my evening not such a “damn, I’m exhausted” struggle.
I binge watch Netflix shows. With no regrets. Which is not the same thing as “Netflix and chill”. Which is what I learned after I told a boy that I was going to “Netflix and chill” when he asked me what I was going to do for the weekend and he went on to explain what “Netflix and chill” actually means. I didn’t mean it that way. Clearly.
I listen to audio books. Sometimes, my brain likes to try to overwhelm me with thoughts of all the things I’m supposed to accomplish in a day. Sometimes, the only way to get my brain to shut up is to give it something else to listen to instead. The best book I’ve ever listened to is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear read by the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth’s narration is perfection, and I find myself thinking about what she was saying and not about the dreaded data meetings that I have to attend.
I focus on my students. High school is still just like high school. And there’s nothing like the teen soap opera of break up and make up to keep me from dwelling on the stresses in my life. It’s easy to get the fuck over myself when my students are making fun of me or laughing at me tripping over air and reacting in slow motion.
Clearly, this is a work in progress, but I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m a grown-ass woman, and I can take a break whenever I feel like it. Now, I need to get back to the assessment data that I was avoiding by writing this blog post!
So tell me, what do you do to give yourself a break? What do you do to help you get over your damn self and not take yourself so seriously?