Teaching in October can make you want to dig out your eyes with a rusty spoon. Red ribbon week, report cards, parent conferences, quarterly tests, fundraisers, fall festivals, and don’t even get me started on the insane blur and sugar coma that is Halloween.
October was the time I started giving up on my to-do lists. It was the time where being a Walmart greeter didn’t sound that bad. It was the time where I felt more frustrated and anxious the closer I got to the school parking lot.
I never understood why we get a day off for Columbus Day and not Halloween. Federal holiday makers obviously aren’t around children snorting Pixy Stix and all hopped up on Kit Kats and freedom.
It’s that time where everyone can start to get a little sandpapery with each other. The shine of the new year has given way to end-of-quarter tests and cafeteria mystery meat.
But if you’ve run the October gauntlet before, then you know it does get better. There’s a turkey flavored break at the end of tunnel. And pumpkin pie too. Mmmm, pumpkin pie…
Here are a few tips to tame the ugly beast of disillusionment:
Don’t check email after leaving work. Yeah, yeah. I know. You’re fancy. Your email is in the dock of your iPhone to make it “easier” to check. Just don’t. It can almost always wait. Really. And don’t return calls either. It’s still okay to expect a 24 hr. turnaround on email and phone calls.
Treat yourself to something fun. You deserve it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Grab a Redbox movie on the way home. Buy a box of wine—I won’t judge. Go to one of those spa dealies that the ladies are always taking about. Buy the choco-macho-cinno coffee you only usually get on Fridays. Just do something nice for yourself.
Get some sun. Good ol’ vitamin D. Nothing beats that. I like to take walks. Some people like to run, although that seems a bit extreme to me. Or you could just play with your kids in the backyard for 10 minutes.
Leave school one day when the bell rings. I know you have a million things on your to-do list that you’ve all but given up on. But try to leave as early as you can at least one day a week. Right when your contract time for the day is up be out the door. It might take a little bit of planning, but you can do it. Almost everything really can wait for tomorrow.
Leave the dishes for tomorrow. Give yourself permission to leave the dirty dishes for the night. Or the dirty whatever. It really can wait another day. Try to find something relaxing instead. Unless washing the dishes is relaxing for you. But that's kind of weird.
Let the kids have cereal for supper. They won’t die. Trust me or just ask my kids. They’ll probably love it and you’ll get to stay on the couch for a little longer.
Get enough sleep. This is a big one for me. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I get seven hours of sleep instead of five. Most things are a little better after a good night’s sleep. Almost everything is worse without it.
Do you have any tips for taking care of yourself and trying to keep perspective?