I am not going to lie, today was awful.
Of course, by the time you read this, it will no longer be “today” anymore.
Four of my six classes were crazy. It was like every management tactic I could think of did not work. I tried everything that I knew how to do, and it made no difference. My first grade in particular. I tried stickers, tickets (our schools PBIS), games, dancing to get our wiggles out, and it was still ridiculous.
Now, I consider myself lucky in that even though it’s my first year of teaching, I have very few days that make me want to die. As teachers, there will always be those days. No matter the school, no matter the subject. How often these occur is not quite as important as what you do after them.
Your students need you to destress. You need you to destress. How do you destress after a day that was so awful you do not want to think about it?
Take a bath
I so wish I could do this. After getting married, I moved into what is essentially a studio apartment with my husband. So there’s no bathtub. Which is really sad because that was my go-to method of destress.
And when we move (in April, yay!) this will be my go to again!
Seriously though. Get a book (or set up Netflix on a stool), light some candles, and drink some wine or Coke or eat ice cream.
You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.
Half of you are sitting there saying “Really?! How will that help?” It does. I’m not saying go run a 5K, but do something. If you are not an exerciser, then just go take a walk. It makes a huge difference. I went from hating exercise to looking forward to it in just a few months, and this is a big reason why. it gets all of the frusteration out, and it takes your brain’s focus away from the day and onto what you are doing.
After a long day of teaching, it clears my mind and helps my body feel better.
Don’t trust me? Yay try it!
If you didn’t believe me about exercise, you probably really won’t believe me about coloring.
But try it.
I’m not sure what it is but it is very relaxing. It doesn’t take very much concentration or brainpower, but it almost soothes your mind.
You can download some for free, but I have a few. My favorite is the Van Gogh coloring book!
Do something productive
This may sound counterintuitive. You want me to destress and relax by doing chores?
I find myself so much less stressed after accomplishing something. Think about it– do you find it hard to destress when there is a massive to do list looming over your head? Can you relax if the house is a mess? I cannot. I would rather get some things done then lay on the couch thinking about how it needs to be done.
And again, it takes your mind off of your day and onto something else.
My favorite thing? Working on my blog. It puts my energy toward something useful. Every time I finish a blog post or get something scheduled, I feel as though I have done something. I didn’t realize this would happen when I started, but it is a huge reason why I continue to blog.
Even if I don’t feel like I accomplished ANYTHING while teaching (aka today), I write blog post and finish it and get some sense of accomplishment.
You could also do something like clean out your closet, get all of the dishes put away, make some manipulatives for your class, etc. Even if it is really small like you finally put clean towels in the bathroom– it will make you feel better.
This is on the same idea as the last one. Creating something will allow you to feel productive. Who cares if it is something no one will ever see? The important part is the process, not the end result. Draw a picture, write a story, etc.
My favorite? Painting. Painting is my new favorite hobby. I used to love it and I haven’t done it in forever and now I am painting all of the time. It feels so good to have something to make. And even better once it is done and you can be proud of it!
And if you can make something to give away, even better. Do a craft that you can give to someone. Have an Etsy shop? More power to you!
Go to bed early
Laying in bed early and getting a good nights sleep will do wonders for your mood. And it will get you ready to face those crazy children tomorrow!
What did I choose to Destress?
Now, I do not always do the same thing. Today though, I chose:
- Do something productive (I cleaned up the house a little bit)
- Create something (I painted a picture that I have wanted to do for a long time)
- Do Something productive (I wrote this post)
- Go to bed early
Destress time is over… now what?
Remember that tomorrow is a new day. Give your kids a new start. Give yourself a new start. Make it better!
This doesn’t mean that you forget everything or don’t follow through on necessary punishments from whatever was done. But it does mean that you don’t hold it against them.
One final thought
Don’t forget why you teach in the first place. It’s not for the bad days. It’s for the good days, when a kid finally “gets” it.
Or when a kid you didn’t think ever hears a word that you say does something that makes you realize that they were listening all along. Or when a kid comes up to you and says, “I love music!” Or when a kid gets into a specialty school and you know that it is literally going to change their life.
Keep a journal. Every time a kid gets something or says something that touches you, write it down.
When you have awful days like today, go back and look at the journal. It will help remind you of why you do this.
Yesterday, I got to add to my journal.
A first grader came up to me at the bus ramp and said “Mrs. Davis! Did you know there’s only three days and then the next day I get to go to music?! I’m so excited!” This was Monday. I don’t see his class until Friday and he was already excited to sing and dance and learn.
That is why I teach.