FINDING BALANCE IN OUR NEW NORMAL IN RECOVERY – LOVE, WENDY

Last night I went to sleep at 5:30pm and slept until the alarm rang at 5:45am this morning. Totally exhausted.

Being a teacher in and of itself is challenging as we try to meet the individual needs of our 30 plus students, daily, communicate with families, create engaging and thought provoking lesson plans, attend never ending meetings, attend trainings to keep up to date with all of the latest trends, ideas, and state imposed standards, grade and return papers, now…add distance learning where we are required to learn, and to teach through a wide variety of new technology, including video taping ourselves for daily lessons, creating daily assignments and meeting our students in virtual classrooms, some who need one one one assistance, and do not speak enough english to receive the support that they need, not to mention that I need to eat and to get outdoors for some self care, exercise, and Vitamin D…it IS exhausting.

Then…we receive an email about immediate layoffs of teachers and teaching assistants…some of whom have been in the district for years. I am brand new. I can’t help but wonder…

And, before I fell asleep at 5:30pm last night, another email from a union rep about all of the new demands, as teachers, for virtual teaching, that are expected of us…

Exhausting…

Oh, did I mention I work with clients in my private practice in a safe, virtual space after a day of virtual teaching? This is my passion and I absolutely love this part of my day as I connect, support and help others on their journey of recovery…it is also cathartic for me, and part of my self care.

This is where I come alive…

I went to bed thinking I cannot possibly learn, create, and sustain myself while practicing the most important daily task…self care, and cried myself to sleep, ready to give up…for the second time in a week. Turns out I am not alone. My closest friend who is a teacher, and colleagues I speak with daily are feeling the same type of disheartening reality. It is only the first week with students and we are burnt out, and feel so unappreciated and over worked, and some of us quite honestly, are feeling incapable. Many of our younger counterparts are able to take off without a hitch with this new technology…we are the “older” generation.

And then, I awaken after a restful night’s sleep, and offer, as always, my gratitude to the Universe/God/Spirit for all of my blessings including having a job during these unprecedented times, and come to the realization that I must try again today, somehow, to work through all of this…ONE TASK AT A TIME.

First on the agenda is my self care…shower, coffee with prayer and meditation, music, writing a blog to help others and that which is also therapy for me, get outdoors as soon as the sun comes up for a short walk before work, and decide I will take a second walk after work.

It’s only 7:30am. Got to run and jump on my computer to “sign in” to work, and begin my day sitting in a chair for 8 hours without a break. My back hurts, my knee swells, within the first week I have suffered a Lupus flare due to stress and constant sitting where I have been prescribed a steroid to reduce my swelling and symptoms, and I just keep smiling for my students and working to offer them a safe, supportive space to spend time with me, and to learn and express themselves. I call their families, all 32 students, weekly, as required, to also offer support during these unprecedented times.

I would love support as well, and presently I receive that support from my colleagues, family and friends as I currently live alone. I am blessed with this loving support. I look forward to my constant connection to my best friend, Miriam, of 30 years, who is also a teacher, and we commiserate and support each other, and catch up on family news, and I look forward to the weekend where I spend time with my best friend, Vicky, of 30 years, for a well deserved mani/pedi, catch up time, laughter, coffee, and hugs with our masks on before I run home for the remainder of the weekend to start the process all over again. In between, I somehow find time to stay connected to my incredible, supportive and loving children, one of whom is a school counselor, Olivia,  living under the same types of unprecedented requirements and demands on her time and space. I made time Monday night, as exhausted as I am, to spend a wonderful and memorable evening with my son, Matthew, as he celebrates his 40th. My children and my recovery are my priority.

My children deserve the best mom, and unconditional love, and I will always provide. My son announced at the dinner table with his girlfriend, a friend, and the waiter that he has the “number one mom in the world.”

WOW. I, We, have come a long way.

Being in recovery now for 7 1/2 years, and being able to turn my life around and offer my children the best ME, and mom, that they deserve, is my greatest accomplishment.

MOM FIRST. FAMILY AND MY THREE DEAREST FRIENDS…FIRST. RECOVERY/SELF CARE FIRST. My three equal priorities.

My mental health is of the utmost importance to me, and we must remind ourselves that our mental health and physical health are directly correlated. When we take care of our mental health, we are taking care of ourselves holistically, body, mind and spirit.

I’ve always said we have to be the change we want to see in the world, so I will continue to thrive in my recovery…first, because this is my oxygen mask. Then, I can offer the best of me to my family, students and clients.

My recovery always leads the way for everything that I choose to do each day.

I take frequent “breathing breaks” and short 10 minutes walks when I can, which are so refreshing and helpful. I drink water throughout the day, and remind myself through constant gratitude how blessed I am to have my health, my recovery, my family and friends, my job, my home, my car, food to eat, and the ability to take care of myself in every way where I know everything will be ok because I have me…I depend on me…and I know I am going to take good care of me.

“Self care is the actions that we take to achieve wellness, and wellness is where we stand in our power.”

How are you standing in your power today?

Be well…

Love and blessings,

Wendy