Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stress Busters

It's the end of the school year. That magical time after standardized testing when weeks and days are filled with field trips, permission slips, yearbook day, field day,  rewards & celebrations, banquets, dances, awards ceremonies, graduations and more. For a school librarian here is what the and more means: inventory, lost library books, more overdue notices and the  "I never checked out that book." or the "I turned that book in." claims,  summer reading promotion, summer reading book and material distribution, and last minute student projects & reports as well as last minute collaborative efforts. There is also the end of the year report to your principal and the state survey.  Ooops!  I left out the frayed nerves, the strained relationships that also come with the end of the school year. And I completely forgot the "Who are they going to cut for next year?" anxiety.

"Stressed Out" by Jonathan Edward Lee https://www.flickr.com/photos/bakaotaku/5318737895/in/photostream/

This can lead to a giant stress induced meltdown. Here is what I do to try to "Keep Calm and Carry On."

  • Focus on the future. We had a motivational speaking group called the Strength Team come to our school recently. Something they said has been helpful to me. "Successful people focus on what they are going to, not what they are going through."  I have been thinking about my vacation plans and what I am going to do with my summer. That really helps. This is not going to last and it is almost over. My mother loved Robert Schuller. She watched him on TV, read his books and sent in donations. For one of those donations they sent her a glass ornament that said, "Tough Times Don't Last, but Tough People Do." This quote helps me. 
  • Breathe. I try to remember to take slow, deep breaths when I am feeling stressed. 
  • Embrace the crazy. Sometimes when things get too busy, I try to think of what the opposite would look and feel like. It helps me remember why I chose to become a teacher. What would my job be like if there were no ________? (Fill in the blank with anything - students, field trips, summer reading). Most likely, it would look like something I do not want or would not enjoy for longer than a day. Part of the reason I signed up for this job is because of the super-busy, challenging nature of it, and it is also super-rewarding and satisfying to me, and because I love office supplies and technology.
  • Exercise. Make it non-negotiable. Even fifteen minutes of exercise will help.  Yoga really helps me. I also love a nice walk. 
  • Listen to music. It is amazing what music can do for my state of mind. 
  • Realize you are not alone. It is crazy time for everyone! 
  • Take Stock -  I need to put some goodies in my end of year report, so now is the time to look at the year and celebrate the highlights. 
I recently read that stress can be contagious. Yikes! Maybe that is why schools can be so scary at this time of year.  

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