I’m sure we’ve all been there. The times when everything seems to be crazy and hectic and your goals seem far away. The times where your workload is overwhelming and you barely have time to breathe, let alone pursue any hobbies. This has been me lately. I’ve been so completely swamped that by the time I am ready to sit down at night and focus on something, it’s already time for bed. Living simply and being mindful of my choices has taken a bit of a backseat to just surviving through every day.
You see, my school district decided to do a shortened school year this year. We are only in school for 150 days, as opposed to the 170+ days that a school normally runs. This might not sound like much, but if you’ve ever had the responsibilities of being a teacher on your shoulders, then you’ll know that trying to squeeze an entire year of content into 150 days is a struggle. I’ve been working long hours, sometimes well over 12 hours a day, and there were three weeks solid where I worked every single day of the week. That’s 21 days without taking a break, without taking a moment for myself. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was feeling stretched thin. How was I supposed to have time to limit classroom waste when I was barely making it through a week of lesson planning? How was I supposed to meal prep on Sundays when I wasn’t even at home?
Then, on top of that, I had some health related needs that forced me to have to fly to Anchorage for a few days so that I could see a doctor (nothing serious, but still a necessary trip). As I was flying in a little 10-seater airplane from my village back to Anchorage, we took a quick refueling stop in the village of Port Alsworth. We ended up being on the ground for about 45 minutes, so I strolled down to the water and just sat. It was one of the few times in weeks that I had been sitting still. I just sat there are watched the calm waters of Lake Clark lap at the floats of the airplanes parked around the shore and let myself do nothing. It was amazing and peaceful and everything I needed.
After that trip, I realized that I needed to do a little bit of reflecting and self-care. I knew I couldn’t keep killing myself at work. I knew I needed time to be at home to spend time with my family, to take care of my house, and to pursue my own hobbies. I am slowly finding a balance and trying to work my simple living goals back into the routine. I will say though, it’s not been easy. Even now, as I type this in the early morning on Sunday, I feel a twinge of guilt that I should probably be working on my lesson plans or organizing student binders for the upcoming week. I try to push that guilt away though and focus on the fact that my goals and home life are important, even more important than work. It is easy to lose sight of that sometimes when you have a demanding job. My hope is that over the next couple of weeks I can refocus and pour more time into the things I enjoy doing – like writing this blog – and be more present in my day to day life. I’m sure it won’t be a simple challenge, but I think I’m up for it.