Would you like to know a secret to balancing one’s life and, more specifically, work and home? It is in a container. Imagine that our experiences, feelings, thoughts are contained or held in an imaginary container. Sometimes our containers are full, empty, overflowing, or gasping for substance.
Visualize your imaginary container as a drinking glass, a fish tank, a coffee cup, a flower vase, a car gas tank, a plastic cube, a water bottle, or a glass pitcher. For each of us, what we imagine or visualize as our container will be unique.
We are out of balance when that container is empty or, conversely, when it is full. There is work and home balance when this metaphorical container is in homeostasis.
Does this happen all the time for educators? No, it does not. However, teachers search for a solution to find time for their families, students, jobs, and themselves. The challenges and changes associated with 2020 have caused the balance to go running, screaming out the door.
Educators and I include myself, are not easily deterred. Helping teachers find time and balance for school and home is my passion. It IS possible to maintain the strong moral imperative of educating students to have a better future and having a good life separate from work.
I blew it this week in the name of balance. My old habits and ideas came rushing forward. Let’s say I had an opportunity to look at my actions and what was going on.
What I found is when I am afraid, stressed, overwhelmed, I try to pour more into an already full container. And what happens is a significant spill, a big mess. There isn’t room for anything extra, and it makes my life and those around me worse.
This week I had a minor surgery to repair a deviated septum from birth. All is well, and it is like having a new toy being able to breathe so easily!
Even good things like being able to breathe out of both nostrils can cause stress. So what do I do? Rather than resting, I add the activity of creating a Christmas challenge to our private Facebook group “A Teacher’s Life” and torture my husband and children with texts.
I spent time and encouraged others to spend time doing different acts of kindness as a countdown to Christmas. Even noble causes can create anxiety, panic, stress, and overflow to an already full container.
I made it to day six and realized what the heck am I doing? I am here to say I am sorry to my family and those of you in our community. My kids are kind; they’re used to this overactivity of myself. So often, I’m a human doing rather than a human being.
Most educators would agree that since March 2020, we are having our most difficult challenges to date. As a principal, I can only imagine what it has been like for teachers during this time. I can only see the wear and tear that is hard and try to help. Our containers are full and in no need of any new activities, thoughts, or feelings.
So what is the solution? Now we can see what the problem is, which is the container is full. And it is creating an imbalance in our lives.
The choices are to stop adding to our container or take out what is in the container. Teachers are not known for doing less, so let’s begin creating more space. There is a solution with many steps so let’s begin with the first one.
The first step is to BE STILL in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Three times a day, sit quietly with no distractions and let your container empty just a bit. Let your shoulders drop, jaw relax, and listen to the sounds around you. This simple practice will prevent our containers from making a mess. This simple practice of being still will open eyes and hearts to the truth which is
We are all enough, and we are all okay.
Please, join our private Facebook group called “A Teacher’s Life” where we explore topics like this deeper such as social emotional support for teachers, ask questions, and share our lives. Come join us!