Sustained exhaustion is not a rite of passage. It’s a mark of stupidity. ~ Jason Fried
At the beginning of this school year, I found myself exhausted in a way I had not before. This was my first 12-month position in a school and the first summer that I was required to work since the start of my teaching career. It was the summer of a short vacation break and a quick move to a new home. What little time I had to lounge around my home during the summer was quickly diminished by packing, planning, and preparing my mind to return to work to learn a new technology system and get ready for the new teachers to arrive on campus. This was the start of my second year in this new position and we were adopting two new technical systems and I would be supporting my teachers to utilize them to create new workflows. The only constant in life is change and depending on the particular moment in time can be exhausting. I spent the first few weeks of the school year exhausted beyond my limits and that was just stupid.
When I finally stopped to reflect on what I was doing to myself I realized I had to do something different. For a while now I have been running with a low gas tank as the first year in any position in a school is always the hardest, even if you have been working as a teacher for over 15 years and you are returning to a school you have worked at before. The start of the school year moved in at a rapid rate and as I moved homes, learned new systems, and supported my colleagues in using these systems life quickly became overwhelming after many long days at work with lots of unpacking of boxes sprinkled in between. At some point, I realized it was not sustained, so I decided the first thing I need to for myself was to start feeling healthy in my body.
I searched my mind for the simple first step I could take and decided it would be to fill my travel mug with green tea every morning to replace the breve mochas I was having each day from the local coffee shop. I am usually an all or nothing type of gal, but as a matter of survival, I was willing to live in the grey. So I suspended judgment of my routine and if I didn’t make my green tea one day and got that breve mocha instead, I was going to have to forgive myself and move on. And so began my journey to make certain I could sustain the pace life was currently bringing me. Over time, I slowly introduced new healthy routines into the mix, which has led me to my current state of preparing green tea and green smoothies most mornings and kickboxing in the afternoons or doing a 30-minute stretch routine in the morning. Additionally, I try to do one creative thinking act each day. That could look like creating artwork for edstoria social media, working with tools in the makerspace at school, or developing a new take on an old lesson plan. These routines are by no means a habit yet or my ideal, but they are small steps to feel healthy which helps me to endure the overwhelm in a sustainable fashion. Harvesting sustainable practices is just one way that we can ensure that we will endure.