Balance is not something you find, it is something you create.
This striking quote from Jana Kingsford really hit me hard. Like many teachers, I try very hard to have a healthy balance between work and home. Only teachers truly understand how difficult that is. I feel like the balance is constantly tipped one way or another. Either school has been stressful and I bring the stress home, or when home is stressful, I bring the stress to school. This quote really reminded me of the role I play in the balance of my life. It is up to me to create and maintain this balance.
Summer is the perfect time for teachers to create balance. We are in between our busiest times of the year (the end and beginning). Below are three ways to create balance in your life this summer.
Life is all about priorities. Where does the importance lie? During the school year, we are asked to place priorities on many things (IEPs, 504s, tier paperwork, data, lesson plans, etc). This summer reevaluate your priorities to align with the balance you are trying to create.
- You: While creating balance, you have to think about yourself. It is ok to put yourself above others at times. As a mom of three, this is extremely difficult for me. Sometimes, I am the last to go to bed, only to be the first one up again in the morning. We as teachers don’t only put our personal children before ourselves, we also put our 25+ school children’s needs before our own. Once again, it is OK to think of yourself from time to time! Go get the pedicure! Go buy the new pair of shoes! Go to dinner with your friends! YOU deserve it!
- Life: Everything doesn’t have to be done NOW. What can be put aside for tomorrow? My to-do list is never ending, so what does it matter if I play Barbies with my daughter today? The clothes will still need to be folded tomorrow! In other words, prioritize your list and do those things that are most pressing first thing.
When work and life get crazy, my hobbies are the first to go. So this summer, I challenge you to pick back up one of your old hobbies and see the joy it brings back in your life! Whether it be painting, reading, sports, music, etc. Get back into the game!
- Read a non-educational book for FUN!
- Find a new sport to play with friends and family. (My family loves to go play Disc Golf!)
Making sure you are healthy is one of the easiest ways to create balance in your life. We can not have a balanced life if we ourselves are unbalanced due to health concerns.
- A couple of months ago, I started on a journey to be the best “me” I could possibly be. I changed my diet and started following the 80/20 Rule. Which basically means, I eat healthy 80% of the time, while 20% of the time, I eat what I please. This has been extremely freeing because I don’t feel guilty when I have a cookie on occasion!
- Creating an exercise routine is a great way to achieve balance. Exercise can allow you to leave the frustrations behind or make them a bit easier to handle. I’m not necessarily talking about going out and joining your nearest gym… but instead what ways can you incorporate healthy activities into your life?
- Get rid of the negative. Negative influences in our lives are crippling. Make it a point this summer to surround yourself with positive people and positive things that will help create balance, not disrupt it.
So I challenge you – go out and create your balance. Find what works for your life. After creating your balance, don’t forget to maintain and nurture it. When life happens, and we know it will, look back on this summer and see the progress you made. Look at the changes you created and consciously bring yourself back to that place.
Michelle is a 5th grade ELA teacher in Pensacola, Florida. Originally from Mississippi, she has over seven years of experience in grades 2nd – 5th. She holds a Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Delta State University. Michelle is an avid lover of the arts and believes in using them as a gateway to broaden her students’ understanding and compassion.