What is the Yule Blog Challenge? Over Winter Break, I'm going to attempt to blog 12 times, sharing reflections of 2020 and what I'm looking forward to in 2021. I would love for you to join in the blogging fun - read more about the challenge by clicking here!
Recharging with a Quiet Christmas
I've already missed a day of blogging, but that's okay :)
It's been one of those days where I want to blog, but even with a list of prompts, I don't really know what to blog about. One of the prompts is about self-care and I'll admit I'm the world's worst about that!
Part of the issue is that many of my tried and true self-care options aren't options right now... in pre-COVID times, my personal self-care often consisted of pedicures with a friend or going on day trips with hubby to visit our favorite used book stores, "junk" stores, and clearance hunting. Sadly, both of these favorites are out the window for the foreseeable future. Honestly, I miss going to the store and out to eat, but even the thought of those cause anxiety. As a result, we have no Christmas gifts purchased and our Christmas Eve has been spent with a YouTube video of a crackling fire and instrumental music while I read and hubs played computer games. It doesn't help that I did something to my foot a few days ago that has landed me on the couch with my leg elevated...
Since we don't have children, Christmas is often a quiet time around our house and this year is no exception. My in-laws are not in the best of health and my mother has just been cleared after a positive COVID test - thankfully she was mostly asymptomatic! Last year, we all met at a local truck stop diner for a Christmas buffet, but this year, we will be staying home with the cats, a good book, and a movie or two.
The beginning of my week was fairly productive, with a lot of lesson planning and collaboration with my friend, Julie, finishing up grades, and clearing the way for a couple of days of quiet time to recharge, take naps, binge some shows, and read to my heart's content.
2020 was a year where self-care and mental health have been vitally important, even if that help doesn't look like the previous years. One big hurdle for me was admitting that it was okay to ask for help. I was struggling daily to go to work without crying and finally asked my doctor for some medication to help me. I'm not an overly anxious person by nature, but the stress of this year was a tipping point where I needed help. I'm also so very grateful for my collaborators, both in person and online... I can't imagine teaching this year without my in-person co-teacher, my online collaborations, and my friends that know the daily struggles of the classroom.
Here are some other self-care tips that have helped keep me (mostly) sane this year:
- Fresh air - While we aren't allowed to congregate at work for lunch, there's a small group of us that have brought our lawn chairs (and now fuzzy blankets) to sit outside for lunch to get a chance to have fresh air while maskless and social distancing. While this 30 minutes goes WAY too quickly, it's one of my favorite parts of the day
- Friends - I can't imagine doing this without my friends, both in-person and online. While I know it can easily devolve into a gripe session, there's something about having true empathy for what you are going through that others can't understand
- Calming Activities - Honestly, I'm bad about this... I really love teaching and I'm passionate about it. So for me, I find calmness in things like podcasts in the car (Forensic Tales is my current favorite), binge reading novels (Kindle Umlimited was a great purchase for me), and things like the YouTube video of the crackling fire and instrumental music.
- Exercise - This one is one I've fallen down on recently... With the pandemic, I haven't moved as much and it's a struggle. I was never one to sit at my desk and I was always up and moving, but since March, my movement has been limited. :(
- Consistency - This deserves a post all its own, but one of the stressful things about this year has been the lack of consistency. We started out in distance learning, came back in-person, had tons of kids in and out on quarantine, then spent most of November back in distance learning, then back in person for December, so from day to day, you really didn't know how many kids might be in person, at home, ill, etc. I decided early on to do the equivalent of distance learning, even while we were in person for the equity for the students at home. Having only one lesson method really helped my sanity (other than the assessments, but that's another issue).
All in all, some of the lessons I've learned in 2020 have been harsh, some have been good for me, some have helped me count my blessings, but through them all, I've been able to grow, to learn, and to really prioritize the important things - my family, my friends, and my health. I still have struggles with those at times since I want to put others ahead of myself, but I'm trying to learn that it's okay to say no.
So on this Christmas Eve, with a cat on my lap, and a faux fireplace video on the TV playing some quiet instrumental music, I urge you to count your blessings and to find a way to recharge your batteries, whatever method that may be...
And in the words of St Nicholas...
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!"