My husband says teachers are on a cycle:
- August: Pumped and motivated
- November: Desperately need Thanksgiving, then float into Christmas
- January 1: Pumped for the new semester
- January 5: Ready to quit
- February: Looking for new jobs
- Spring Break: Rejuvenated and can easily celebrate the rest of the year until it all starts over next year
What’s interesting is that EVERYONE seems to be on that cycle in January and February. Many people suffer from “winter blues” – and although I don’t experience them as severely as most, I understand that longing for green leaves and sunny days – especially in the gray sky Midwest.
Recently, we got a new puppy. She is a beautiful golden labradoodle, and she is PRE-CIOUS. One thing, though. I forgot that puppies are a lot like newborns. And, well, I haven’t slept a full night through in a few weeks. So, the other morning I got up and felt ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED. Like a NEW MOM. Remember how I only wanted ONE KID? Yeah, that.
And we decided to do it in freezing coldness January.
When I feel tired or discouraged, my favorite thing to do is GET OUT OF MY HEAD by doing something for someone else. It gives me perspective and purpose. That morning I knew I was going to have to do something REALLY nice for someone, because I was feeling SUPER TIRED.
I began to think about the fact that if I’m exhausted, a bunch of my students are probably just as exhausted. Probably other teachers, too. And it began to make me SPIN with all the thoughts of things I could do…we could do, together.
So the first thing I did in my classes all day was this: I asked my kids how they felt when they woke up that morning – IN ALL HONESTY. They said tired, regretful, sad, exhausted, stressed. I told them what I had been thinking about. That if they felt THAT bad, someone else probably did, too. SO – I told them we were going to CHOOSE JOY together by GETTING OUT OF OUR OWN HEADS and making someone else’s day better.
I gave them each THREE POST-IT NOTES. And then during each class period, we chose different staff members to compliment on those post-its. We made sure to write INTENTIONAL messages, as specific as we could.
Then we ALL hoofed it to the front office and did our “drive by” encouragement, sticking the post-its on various doors, desks, and windows. Watching the faces of the people who work so DARN HARD, who are the FACE OF OUR SCHOOL, who have to deal with angry parents and students and teachers ALL THE TIME…seeing them smile was a blessing.
And it reminded me that my exhausted was my students’ exhausted was the office ladies’ exhausted. And if we #feelforward, take the emotion we are feeling, think about what would make US feel better, and then do it for SOMEONE ELSE, well, it’s better than getting it ourselves.
More than the recipients, though, I loved watching my students. They were feeling the love, too, and we talked about a LIFESTYLE of kindness. We talked about DEFEATING our discouragement by providing LIGHT for others. I told them how, when I wake up and feel something, I start thinking about how I can DO for someone else.
- If YOU need a wake up, buy SOMEONE ELSE a coffee.
- If YOU are tired of walking from the furthest parking spot, park there so SOMEONE ELSE can park closer.
- If YOU are feeling lonely, write a note for SOMEONE ELSE to feel loved.
We spend a lot of time in our own heads, feeling sorry for ourselves because of “all the things” that have gone wrong. If you feel that way, then you certainly are not alone in those feelings. There are thousands of people just like you – if not feeling worse. It doesn’t discount your feelings, it just helps you get out of your head. It helps ME get out of mine.
Recently, a friend gave me an intentional gift. Specific, intentional gifts are my LOOOOOVE language! And she gave me something I love. And a card with sweetly intentional words. The thing is, I know she’s been walking through some anxiety. So, whether she knew it or not, she was feeling forward. She was getting out of her head and GIVING instead of becoming bitter or angry or sad.
And the crazy thing is, it was right after I had my students #feelforward. It doesn’t always happen that way, but sometimes, just sometimes, it happens when you need it the most.
That day I felt so EXHAUSTED I posted a Facebook Live video about it. Check out my YouTube channel for more encouraging videos!
I have recently written a book – an ADVENTURE that helps you make CHOICES to live the BEST LIFE EVER! Check it out HERE and begin the 21 day challenge that will continue to get you out of your head!
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