Many schools are not in session today because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. For those of you who enjoyed a long weekend, the "back-to-school-blues" are probably starting to creep into your day.
Returning to work after a break, teachers search their calendars for the next break and settle in for the long haul. We may hear some cheerleading from colleagues that sounds a bit like, "Let's make it to Spring Break! We can do it!" While the encouragement is coming from a supportive place, how do we "make it?" Are we living those weeks with our students, our families, and ourselves in a way that honors our lives? Don't we deserve as much? Or do we put our heads down and tackle the to-do lists while teaching, attending meetings, and trying to organize our families? Think about how the "grin and bear it" attitude affects your body, mind, and spirit.
You are worth the love and attention that you are capable of giving to yourself. You don't have to "get through" to the next break. You can decide that it is time to take care of yourself while sharing your gifts of teaching and learning with your students. You can have both, but it takes recognizing the need and living the habits that support yourself along the way. Are you willing to love yourself that much?
In a typical school year, we would start to feel the squeeze in February, but I'm feeling it now. I don't know if it is because of the Full Moon, world events, or the return to a regular schedule post-holidays, but the pressure is building for many of us.
If you are feeling this energetic compression, I invite you to explore viewing your current stressors with some imagery. Imagine that tension you are feeling as the squeeze of an orange. This pressure may be manifesting for you with headaches or body aches, emotional flooding, or illness. You are feeling it from everywhere and are looking for a break. The squeeze is unpleasant, but I want you to consider the juice that comes from this tension.
You should be feeling raw, having been crushed from every angle. It is a vulnerable feeling. But you have survived. And now, in private, you are given a chance to look at the juice you've produced. What needed to get out of you has left. With what will you fill yourself back up? Will you want to drink this juice that you have in front of you, or do you need to filter it first? Is the potency right, or do you need to feed your soul with something more?
Consider this juice to be everything you need right now. Optimism? Perspective? Add what you need to the glass and imagine yourself sipping it and filling your soul up. This is a renewal process. Don't poison yourself with what hasn't served you in the past - what needed to get out. Look at what will help nurture your inner being. It is in this act that we continue to grow into our best selves.
What does your best self need right now?