I barely sleep anymore. It’s a combination, I’m sure, of the lack of excitement in my days and the very vivid imagination that has me convinced that this is a zombie apocalypse instead of a pandemic.
Somewhere around dinner time every day, I look up from my laptop and notice that the day has progressed without me. The angle of the sun is different than it was when I first stuck my nose to the grindstone, and I still have plenty more to do. My days are riddled with stress. I alternately attend zoom meetings, grade papers, teach remote classes, plan for tomorrow, and send (literally billions of) emails to parents, students, case managers, guidance counselors begging for missed assignments. Even though I’m a 30 year veteran, EVERYthing has to be recreated for this quarantine situation and my days blend into a blur of multi-tasking frenzy.
Everyone needs a way to destress. Here are my new favorites:
- Reduce caffeine. That first cup sharpens my senses and makes me able to concentrate. The second cup makes me jittery and hyperproductive. Everything after that is evil.
- Socialize. Depending on your state’s current restrictions, Zoom with your sisters, have a virtual happy hour with your buddies, go for a socially distant walk with your neighbor. Everyone needs human contact, and, even if you’re currently quarantined with a dozen people, everyone needs variety in their human contact.
- Reduce alcohol. It’s a temporary solution that leads to long term problems. A glass of wine on the patio after dinner is one thing. Dulling your senses so you don’t have to think about the zombies is another.
- Calm. It’s an app that leads you through guided meditations, sleep stories, ASMR, and breathing exercises. At one point, they offered a free year for teachers. If that’s not available, anyone with the app can send you a free month (Here’s a link from my account).
- Yoga. There are a ton of free videos on YouTube to guide you through basically any level of practice. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, whether you want to do a 5 minute practice or a 50 minute practice, even if you want a practice for bad knees or guided for seniors, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
- Run. I did the Couch to 5k program last summer, at the ripe age of 54, and found it utterly life changing. The sense of accomplishment, the knowledge of my own ability to do anything I wanted, and the general improvement in my own outlook on life keep me running even now. Tough class 1st period? Go for a jog. Difficult parent meeting? Take a run. Husband taking a nap on the couch while you’re juggling dinner, laundry, and a class of 4th graders? Hit the sidewalk.
- Journal. Write down how you’re feeling (what do you think this blog is for?). Naming your emotions gives them less power over you.
- Mow the lawn. For years, my son was in charge of our lawn and gardens. In his more difficult teenage years, I wasn’t allowed to plant a plant or push the lawnmower. He wanted total control, and, happy to get that off my list, I let it go. He moved out last year, and, even though I can still occassionally persuade him to come do our lawn, I discovered that the act of pushing a lawnmower coupled with the satisfaction of a freshly mowed yard is enormously satisfying. It’s not unusual for me to mow the front yard during my prep if 3rd period was particularly difficult.
Please tell me. What’s your favorite way to destress?