It’s been a long time since I posted anything here on the blog, not because I’ve given up on eating healthier and cutting back on sugar (I haven’t), or because I’ve lost interest in writing in general (definitely not).
The reason I haven’t posted lately is because I’ve been surviving, but not thriving. Leading up to my summer break from teaching, I was in full-force work mode, trying to grade all the essays, plan all the senior events, and generally do all the work-related things. At times, I felt like it would be easier to set up a cot at school instead of bothering to go home to sleep. When summer started, I needed to recover from the craziness of work, but much to my (misguided) dismay, that “recovery” had to happen over the course of several trips: to Arkansas, Shaver Lake, Yosemite, Cambria, and more. Don’t get me wrong…travelling is great, but I didn’t feel like I was able to “relax” until mid-July….about two weeks before I had to go back to work.
During that two-week period, I did some self-reflection. The way I’ve been living–working 60 hours a week and hustling in my spare time–is a five-lane highway headed straight toward Burnout. It’s not fun, it’s not profitable, and it’s definitely not sustainable. It’s time to make some changes.
I started with some action steps. I told my husband that my goal for the new school year is to “fight for the weekends,” to work SO HARD Monday-Friday that I don’t have to work AT ALL on Saturday and Sunday. So far, it’s working. Here are the changes I’ve made:
1. Laundry is no longer a Saturday chore. It happens in pockets of time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, ideally running a load through the washer while I get ready for work. If that doesn’t happen, you’d better believe I’m washing a load as soon as I get home.
2. Grocery shopping and “meal prep” are no longer scheduled for Sunday afternoons. That can actually be relaxing for me, so I may do it occasionally, but for the most part, I’ll grocery shop (or send my husband to do it without me!) on Monday evenings. Paulo has been grilling a lot lately, so he just cooks a bit of extra chicken or steak and–voila!–lunch is “prepped” by way of leftovers.
3. I shut off my phone and turn on my laser-focus during my prep time at school. I don’t get much of it, so I’m aiming for maximum efficiency.
4. I get my grading in on weekday evenings. Sometimes, that means staying late at work (I even signed up to supervise library study hall on alternating Wednesdays). Other times, that means finding a table at my favorite Starbucks and camping out for a few hours before I go home. As long as it’s not Saturday or Sunday, I’m down. Of course, I did cheat on this system once already. I have graded on one Saturday morning so far, but that was only because I knew that I needed to get that assignment DONE in order to fully enjoy Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. It was worth it. After all, I chose to teach English; I have to take the essays and deal with it.
I still feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel at times, but the weekends are SO MUCH more refreshing when I don’t have that “I should be grading” feeling hanging over my head the whole time.
As we head into a new month, and soon a new season (Fall! My favorite!!), I’m kicking things up another notch. I’m OBSESSED with Rachel Hollis of The Chic Site and Girl, Wash Your Face fame, and she has challenged her “tribe” to something she calls “Five to Thrive.” Here it is:
1. Drink HALF your body weight in ounces of water every day 💦 Yes you will have to pee every 39 minutes but your skin, digestion and energy will thank you!
2. Give up one category of food you KNOW you should not be eating. For one single month I want you to challenge yourself to give up sugar, carbs, dairy, diet soda (you choose!) and don’t quit on yourself. Chances are if you go a whole month without it you will want much less (or maybe none 🤞🏻) when we’re done.
3. Wake up one hour earlier every day and use that time for yourself. Pray, read, workout, meditate, write on your novel… you choose! The point is that so many women say they don’t have enough time for themselves and I want to encourage you to carve it out.
4. Speaking of workouts… do it. Every. Single. Day. Get active for 30 min. Every day? Yes!! I’m not suggesting you run a marathon, I’m only suggesting you MOVE your booty for at least half an hour every day.
5. Last –and maybe most important– write down 10 things, every day that you are grateful for. Try to choose things that happened that day instead of big stuff like kids or relationships or health. The reasoning, is if you have to think of ten things to write down each day you will begin to live your day on the lookout for gratitude in small things. This shift in perception can (and will!) totally change your life if you embrace it.
This is so simple and SO in line with everything I’ve been working on this year. I’m ready to THRIVE. How about you?