Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mental Health Day/Balance

Work getting you down? To do list piling up? We've all done it once in a while. The "Hey, I'm Salaried and I Can Get Paid for Staying Home Today" Mental Health Day. Today I stayed home from work. I ordered in a subtitute, emailed in lesson plans and let the kids run wild. And I didn't let myself feel (too) guilty for doing it. Maybe tomorrow when my classroom is in shams and my freshmen are showing up in 10 minutes I'll regret it. But today it felt well worth it.

Now, granted, I do have a first-of-the-school-year-thanks-a-whole-lot-for-the-rhinovirus-you-snot-nosed-kids-COLD. I am really tired. I have been working myself a little too much because I still haven't figured out how to balance it all. I am starting to think that this whole "balance" idea is a sham, frankly. Maybe if there were more like 34 hours in a day balance would become a possibility. But who has time for taking care of one's self when the career is new, the dating life obsolete, and your best friend/roommate is also a workaholic with a new niece on the way? Work sort of consumes all waking hours, and a few of the hours that should be spent sleeping.

So, this morning when my alarm rang out its bone chilling song, every nine minutes, for about an hour (things to work on: my abuse of the snooze button...and setting my alarm extra early to enable this abuse). I finally turned the alarm to OFF (what a novelty), got out of bed, and decided that I am worth it. I am a little on the sick side. My body is tired. The grading is never-ending and even after a long session of the drudgery yesterday, I still need a day (or two) of grading catch up. Because they just keep doing all this work, five days a week, six classes full of 30-ish students. And today felt like it might just work to not go in to work.

I actually slept a large portion of the day away because, well, that is what my body was in need of, apparently. By large portion, I mean that I went back to sleep around 9. And slept until 1. After a fairly full night of sleep. And a two hour nap last night. So, as I roused myself from my sleepy stupor a little after 1, I started thinking. Being the doofus that I am, it took a while for me to come up with this conclusion: I must be pushing myself a little too much. The 60 hour work weeks plus commuting plus all the take-home grading plus church/family/home responsibilities, etc. really is taking its toll. There is a perfect indian summer outside and I only know it because I happen to glance through the windows in my classroom on occasion. And I hear rumors.

So, I guess all my ramblings come down to this question--how do you do it all? Am I just a whiner? I mean, I know people say things like, "Well, you just fit the important stuff in, you MAKE it work." I'm wondering how these people do this. I'm thinking it might involve a crow bar, the mafia, and other specialized tools. And have these people that MAKE it all fit ever taught before? Alice recently posted a similar idea on her blog all about balancing life and taking care of herself in the midst of the craziness. She sounded so positive. I'm wondering why I can't feel the same way. I feel like it is just a little short of impossible. I'm wondering when I get to slow down without needing to take the day off.

What about you? How do you keep balanced? What are your realistic tricks? Or do you also feel like this "balanced" idea is a conspiracy set up by people like Oprah and others with a personal assistant and an agenda?


Alice said...

A day off is exactly what you needed. Balance is tricky and I am yet to know the "secret". I know it has to do with priorities, boundaries, and realistic expectations. Cut yourself some slack my dear. You are doing much better than you give yourself credit for. Keep your chin up kid, we are all on your side :)

LovingTheChaos said...

Balance is the ability to maintain sane in a world that is perpetually off balance! Balancing the unbalance of it all!

Wise words from the older, but less wiser sister! :)

Blackeyedsue said...

Balance is a figment of our imaginations. We always compare our worst to someone else's best. It is something that I will forever not grasp, so I stopped trying. Somedays the housework gets neglected, sometimes I tell my kids to play outside for hours on end. Sometimes I just sleep.

If you figure it out let me know. I had a Xanax needing breakdown in the car the other day because the thought of a c-section recovery and dealing with a newborn, two little girls and a puppy had me so worked up that I couldn't breathe.

Something had to give...we are selling the puppy. Am I feeling terribly guilty? Yes, but I am one step closer to balance.

HAD said...

I think people just need to take things one day at a time. I recently had an emotional break down at work. My boss told me to stop taking on the weight of the world and just do what has to be done day to day. The other stuff will work itself out. It always does.