Once a month, I write a post for The MEHRIT Centre blog. I usually know what I’m going to write about early on in the month. I let the ideas percolate, and then I blog. This month though, I’m stuck. My mind is empty, or maybe, it’s full.
- Full of year-end tasks to do: from classroom cleaning and organizing to OSRs.
- Full of ideas for a final celebration, which will be wonderful, but also seems so very different on a computer screen.
- Full of thoughts about how to say “goodbye” when connecting is not the same online.
- Full of a To-Do List for our final couple of days in the classroom before getting ready for the summer.
- Full of presents to buy, cards to write, and blog posts to finish in the coming days.
Even as I go to type this list, which is far from complete, my stomach starts to twist. My hands feel clammy. I get that fluttery feeling inside. Stress.
I’m usually a good sleeper, but I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few days. The other day, we got an email from our principal asking us to add in the class codes for next year on our Communications of Learning or report cards by 4:00 on Wednesday. This sounds like a simple request. In many ways it should be one. But what happens when the boxes are full? Then somehow the task of freeing up 30-50 characters for this information becomes overwhelming. I know that it doesn’t have to be, and in comparison to the many other pivots that we’ve done this year, this report card request is a small one, so why did it have me almost breaking down into tears? Dysregulation.
We all have our limits. The end-of-the-year would undoubtably feel stressful and overwhelming if we were back in-person, but we’re not, and what is usually predictable year-end stress is just that little bit different this year. How do we handle this then?
- For me, I’ve been heading to bed earlier each night. I might not be sleeping well, but I’m taking time to plug in my iPad, disconnect from emails, social media posts, and texts, and just read. I’m a pretty voracious reader normally, but have become even more of one recently. The other day, I was up at 4:00 in the morning to finish a book. Sometimes the reading puts me to sleep, but even more than that, it makes me feel better.
- I’ve been taking the time to breathe. This might sound strange, but it works for me. Sometimes I just find a quiet place at home and take a few deep breaths. I listen to my breathing. And I keep breathing until my fluttery stomach begins to dissipate. I knew that “breathe” was the perfect word for June.
- I cry. Yes, I give into the tears for it’s often when I choose to do so, that I start to feel better. Once I get the tears out of my system, I can think clearly and figure out how to solve the problem — whatever that problem might be.
- I reach out to friends. Sometimes sending a text and letting others know how I’m feeling makes me feel so much better. I don’t necessarily need a response or words of advice … I just need to know that somebody is listening. I’m grateful for my friends all year long, but especially during these stressful times. They are my ultimate source of co-regulation. Seeing them would be wonderful — and a patio dinner recently totally made my day — but even virtually, they can lend me their calm.
What do you do? How do you respond to stress? I guess that hidden in the midst of no blog post, I ended up with exactly the one that I wanted — and needed — to write. Here’s to some wonderful final days of school and the strength to make it through.