Things are very hard right now.

I know that sentence is an understatement. The last few years have been harsh and difficult for everyone. First came the pandemic, which shut down huge portions of our lives and forced us all to adapt in ways we weren’t prepared for. Then came protests and civil unrest, followed by a volcanic election, which only compounded our stress and division. Even now, as the omicron variant begins to recede, we find ourselves facing an international crisis and growing problems at home.

I don’t want to be trite. It’s all too easy in these moments to write something that’s pseudo-inspirational and assure readers that, “It’s not that bad. We’re almost back to normal. You can do it!!!” The reality is, we’re all tired, burnt out, and unsure of what the future holds. This is doubly true for educators, who have often borne the brunt of these events, and are now finding themselves on the brink. So, I’d like to do something different in this blog. I’d like to tell everyone reading this to stop what they are doing and take care of themselves.

Just Hit Pause  

Yes, I know we all have responsibilities. Teachers especially have too much to do and too little time. Still, it’s Friday, use this weekend to give yourself the space and silence you need. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful in these tough times. I hope they help you as well:

  • Get Off Social Media: Seriously, just sign off for the weekend. As an accomplished doomscroller, I promise you that nothing good comes from staring at a screen all day. Step away from Twitter and Facebook and spend your weekend in the real world. You’ll be amazed at how much this will improve your mental and emotional health.
  • Meditate: Taking 15 or 20 minutes to meditate can do much to clear your mind and ease some tension. Put on ambient music or seek out a platform which provides tips and techniques. Then, take a small moment to just let go. There will be more than enough time to worry about things later. For these 20 minutes, give yourself a reprieve.
  • Spend Time in Nature: If the weather permits, spend some time outdoors. Go for a walk in a local park or take a trip along the shore. If the weather is bad and you feel safe doing so, visit an arboretum or indoor garden. You could also swing by the nearest aquarium! Research has shown that spending time in nature can help a person feel calmer, happier, and refreshed.
  • Cook Something New: Variety is the spice of life! For some, cooking can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be something as simple as making a batch of chocolate-chip cookies. Finishing a small task can help boost your moral and having something delicious to snack on afterword’s is a bonus.
All the Best

It will take time to process everything that we have experienced these past few years. So, take this weekend and give yourself that time. Do something you love and find assurance in those little moments. I hope you are all staying safe this week. Everyone deserves a period to rest, teachers most of all, so take care of yourself!

*Image courtesy of Smihael via Wikimedia Commons.

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