August has been delightful busy for me. Paul McCartney in concert, camping, meeting new friends through an AIP meetup group, the state fair and the last week was spent getting ready to enrich the lives of about 460 middle school kids. All in all Augusts has been a great month.
Being a librarian/teacher gives me a different perspective on the year. Where most people set their goals from January 1 to January 1 mine go from Sept 1 to Sept 1. A new school year filled with hope and new goal setting.
There are many changes coming down the education pipe and educators have many more hoops to jump through to show their effectiveness. Stress and fatigue are going to be the words of the year. So here are some tips that I use to deal with both. I’m not an expert and I do have days where no matter how closely I follow my own advice by 7:30 in the evening I’m exhausted, it doesn’t matter what else needs to get done that day nothing else is going to be accomplished. Though if I prioritize these 3 things exhaustion and stress happens less often.
And here they are the 3 things I do to minimize stress and fatigue:
SLEEP! All health experts agree that sleep is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress and improve your health.While you are sleeping your body repairs itself and new information is committed to memory. Sleep deprivation can lead to chronic stress, a compromised immune system, heart problems and obesity. I set aside 7-9 hours a night for sleeping. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but as I reflected on my productivity cycle I realized that I am more productive in the morning so trying to stay up until 11:00 to finish a project often resulted in project that really didn’t meet my standards. After about 10:00 PM I often hear myself say “Good enough” even when it’s far from it.
It is not always easy to shut down, especially after a busy and stressful day, I have created a bedtime routine that I follow. By following a routine it signals my body it’s time to slow down. I also wear amber-colored glasses once I have to start turning on the lights in the evening to reduce the blue light which can signal your brain that it’s daytime and I use f.lux on all my computers to remove the blue light from the monitor.
Remove sugar from my diet: This sounds impossible; I know when I start eating more sugar, even natural sugars in dates or honey, I start to crave sugar, I become tired more quickly and I start to gain weight. The buzz on the internet is that sugar is the next cigarettes, negatively effecting your health. Eating too much sugar can cause insulin resistance which leads to more insulin production which can cause type II diabetes. Sugar causes the release of dopamine in the same area of your brain that is affected by cocaine and heroine. It releases opioids, which makes you feel good so you want more sugar, which sounds a little like addition to me .Sugar also causes fatigue. When you eat something sugary your pancreas releases insulin to regulate the sugar in your blood, this causes a drop in sugar in your bloodstream causing fatigue. I know on days that I consume more sugar I crash earlier than normal, which causes me to not get as much done which causes me stress which causes me to eat more sugar, you get the point. Back in February I read The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally
by Dianne Sanflippio. After my detox I really began to really understand sugar’s negative affect on my health. (My sugar detox journey)
Meditation: The most important thing I do is meditate. It doesn’t matter if I meditate for 5 minutes or 20 minutes, on days I meditate I am just a calmer, more patient person. Meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety, stress, and slow down the aging process.I have never really done much research into why meditation does these things I just know when I meditate I feel better. Doing the research for this post I have learned it is a very interesting and complex process and feel that it will have to be a blog post of it’s own. In treating my blepharitis I put a hot compress on my eyes for 10 minutes every morning to help get the oils moving. This is when I meditate. On mornings I’m running behind and I skip my hot packing meditation I feel more stressed at work, I complain more, and I am less focused.
No matter if you’re a teacher having to deal with PDPs, PLCs SLOs and PPGs, (and that is just the tip of the iceberg) work in a stressful industry , work from home, are retired, or a stay at home parent, you get stressed and fatigued. I hope these tips will bring a little more balance to your life.