Are you adapting? Have you realized that the new normal will be a little difficult because change is difficult? Or maybe not, maybe your life balance is just fine and you think the snowflakes need to just stop whining and put on their big boy pants.
It’s a beautiful Fall Sunday and most years I would be enjoying a day of wine touring during the harvest season, maybe helping Chris Loxton punch down his grapes or happily talking with 14 strangers about brix and terroir and barrel toasting but not this year. This year I wake up wondering if I have enough in the tank to make it around the SDC because I know exercise and nature are the best ways to move forward but can’t I just smoke my breakfast and binge watch the new season of Ballers?
Did you hear about the golf coach who almost quit mid-season because he just couldn’t get his team to feel like a team.
How about the special ed teacher in Napa who almost quit because two of his colleagues were out with COVID and he has to cover both of their classes plus his own?
Or the science teacher who called an ambulance in the middle of class because he thought he was having a heart attack?
Or the math teacher who has to lie down for 30 minutes in her backyard every afternoon because her level of exhaustion is higher than ever?
Or the district office employee who had to substitute in a classroom for three days last week?
Or the teacher in American Canyon who suggested that the next Tik Tok challenge should be having empathy for teachers.
Or the local blogger who wanted to tell the community about all the exhausted teachers but was too tired to write anything of interest.
And then there are the students who have classes and college aps and sports and homecoming and relearning soft skills and dealing with all those whiney teacher rules (or maybe just mine).
Plus, all the unknowns like are masks really helping? And is my sore throat bad enough to stay home? Should I get tested? And are my digestion issues from COVID or the result of the sun-dried tomatoes on my pasta last night?
Bottom line, difficult time, but when is life not difficult? It’s again about your personal homeostasis and learning to adapt just like we have been doing for the last 18 months.
The new normal is not normal. What I mean is that what you thought of as normal is no longer and you can either pine for the past or move forward. Here’s the list I have had on my whiteboard for the last two weeks:
Ways to fill up your tank:
Drink warm drinks
Prepare new meals from new places
Deep breathing/oxygenate your cells
Lie down in the grass and look up with gratitude
Read and post inspirational quotes
Look at pictures that make you smile
Rediscover what you love
Move: walk or bike or dance
Tackle ignored projects
Read a book
Sit and savor what’s good in your life
Take a 10 Minute Brain Rest
Nap and get 8 hours of sleep per day
Keep your nutrition balanced
Journal about what is causing you pain
Normal anxiety is healthy, it pushes us forward but we are not experiencing normal anxiety. Yet many people are expecting things to get back to normal which, as I said, will not happen.
We have to adapt, and the good news is we are good at adapting. The kids are back in school, restaurants are open, the plaza is jumping, the holidays are around the corner, booster shots are available and it might even rain this week. See, life’s not so bad.
But how can I shake the malaise and anxiety which we feel on the daily? Simple, pick one or two items from my list above and commit to it. Plus, think about what it is that’s causing your anxiety-what is the first thing you think of when you wake up? Now DEAL WITH IT. And if you can’t change it, accept it.
I am writing this at 11:30 am on a Sunday from my classroom which I rode to this morning because I was so spent on Friday that I could no longer function. My normal ADD schedule of teaching 6 subjects while coaching and driving a wine tour bus has proven to be too much this Semester and so I am saying no to weekend wine touring and spending Sundays preparing for the week (tackling ignored projects and rediscovering what I love).
Is it a pain? Not if you love what you do and if you don’t love what you do, maybe it’s time to start doing something else. That’s adapting, it’s what humans do.