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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

When I was a teacher in the classroom, Sunday’s were predictable. I would spend the day at school working on my classroom, making copies, getting things ready for the week. It was a way to work through the nervous energy that rippled through me as I psyched myself up for the trials and tribulations that a week teaching high school students brings. I loved teaching. I loved the challenge. I loved the laughs. But eventually, the stress got the better of me. It was time to try something new.

Moving into the non-profit world I found my hours increased by leaps and bounds. Hard to imagine that I could work more having come from the classroom – but it is true. 60 hour weeks and year round schedules. I think the difference is in the year round part. Being a teacher, you pace yourself like a runner. You know you have to get a certain distance over a certain time period. You take breaks for water but you plug on through. The transition from one world to the year round world required me to rethink my pace. The first few summers were hard. I always worked through the summer as a teacher at the community college but it had the highs and lows of a new job and that was an adrenaline rush in itself.

Having been at this job now almost 7 years in June, I have the pacing down. But it is the travel recovery before and after that gets me. I love to travel. I have always enjoyed the trips I take for work. Adventures in networking with new colleagues. Nothing better than traveling back East to the PBS mothership 🙂 But, along with travel comes a hangover. Not from drinking too much, but from jet lag, from the intensity that comes with being “on” almost 16 or 18 hours a day and worrying about all the happenings at home that I should be there for. They are fine at home. I have a great home team. But it doesn’t stop the worry.

I’m back now after almost a week away. 3 nights is my maximum in good conscience. 4 full days. I think that might have been when I spent all day Friday with a migraine. Stress hangover? Hard to gear up then for all the events in the days to follow. I know it may sound silly. But preschool graduation, mom’s birthday, the twin’s birthday, a major work event at the Zoo later in the week where I facilitate the program, and then the last day of school and organizing all the presents for teachers are enough to make me want to go back to bed and not get up until next week. All this on top of voicemails and non-urgent emails I let await me until I returned to work this week. Xanex anyone?

I’ll default to my best strategy. My best strategy is to put my head down. Focus on one event at a time and not think too hard about the rest until one is accomplished. Then, on to the next. Prayer works well too. I need to turn it over instead of just lament it. Breathing always helps. Maybe a few yoga stretches. Its only 10 am on Sunday. Plenty of time for me to deploy my strategies. All those, and a few slip n slide trips with my kids in my parents’ backyard should be the perfect remedy.

There is a science to all this – happiness and stress and anxiety you know. I’ll leave you with this thought I found…

The answer lies in the pie chart theory of happiness. Recall that 50 percent of individual differences in happiness are governed by genes, 10 percent by life circumstances, and the remaining 40 percent by what we do and how we think?that is, our intentional activities and strategies. The secret of course lies in that 40 percent.
~ Sonja Lyubomirsky “Get Control of your Happiness”

In the meantime, I find a way to peek at those emails and check voicemail later today. A pre-emptive strike on my week ahead. Hopefully I can squeeze in some Hooing too in SL. A few deep breaths in and out… and I’m off!

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