Making Changes

It’s no secret that I’ve been down lately. I’ve been under a lot of stress, some of it externally imposed, some self-imposed, and I haven’t been myself. My once joyful outlook on life was replaced by a cloud of negativity, following me around and weighing me down. This weekend I decided enough is enough.

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I realized that I was allowing the circumstances around me to control me, thus putting me in a funk. I was playing the victim, letting anger over the injustices I was experiencing take over. What I realized was that I was the one who was ultimately affected. Those other people weren’t bothered in the least and went on about their days, oblivious to my plight, but there I was in turmoil nearly every day. I found myself getting worked up over everything that didn’t turn out right. I was short-tempered, sensitive, and constantly complaining about what was happening to me. To be fair, I was wronged, taken advantage of, and not appreciated, but my reaction to the situations was ultimately what was causing me to feel that way.

I’ve decided that I can’t change how other people act, but I can change how I react to the situations that come my way. Yesterday, a few things happened where I was not respected. Normally, these things would have bothered me a lot, and I would have been so frustrated by them that I would have worked myself up and been angry. But, surprising even myself, I changed my reaction. Instead of getting angry or feeling sorry for myself, I laughed it off and moved on. And you know what? It felt good that I was able to move on quickly without dwelling on it.

Another thing I’m working on is being less of a workaholic. It’s in my nature to work hard and to do things perfectly. I have an extremely strong work ethic, and I take pride in my work and my accomplishments. As the classic overachiever, I don’t know how to say no, even when my plate is overflowing. As you can imagine, this leads to late nights and endless stress. I’ve decided to make a change. I need to find my joy again, and believe it or not, I’m not going to find it at home, alone, stressed out, and working all the time. Instead, I’m going to give it my all everyday at work, even staying a little longer each afternoon to get things done, but then I’m going to go home. I’m not going to carry the burden home with me, working tirelessly all night. It’ll be there for me tomorrow, when I’ll be well-rested and more able to tackle it anyhow. I’m taking back time for me- time to enjoy life, doing the things I want to do with people I enjoy.

So far, I’m two days in and doing well. I can’t promise that I won’t have setbacks, but I can promise that I’m going to keep trying everyday to maintain my positive outlook and find my joy again. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Making Changes

  1. maribethbatcho

    Good for you! My favorite line from your piece is this: I’m not going to carry the burden home with me…” Compartmentalize. Leave the bag of work there. When you get home, detox from the stressful day with a change of clothes right away, and a glass of water to reenergize. A simple act with an incredible ability to shift…Good luck!

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    Don’t you find that so many of us, teachers are overachievers and workaholics. I appreciate your struggles. This year has been the first year in my 21 year career I have learned how to let go during the school week. Ironically, the game changer for me was writing two hours a night to work toward a life after teaching. Thanks for putting your heart out there.

    Reply
  3. Cheriee Weichel

    Oh Jennifer, I’m so impressed! This post brought back so many memories for me. It took me two years of therapy to learn to let things be, and I still struggle with overworking. Good Luck!

    Reply

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