The Importance of Stopping

This week is fall break, the glorious light at the end of the tunnel after nine weeks of school. For those of you with the normal two to three weeks off per year, I realize nine weeks does not sound like such a terrible stretch of work, but as a teacher, it is a solid chunk of energy investment, particularly given the first weeks of school are among the most tiring.

Before I became a teacher, I thought the breaks alone would make up for any amount of exhaustion in the classroom. Instead, I discovered that while time off definitely helps, the exertion required to keep 30 children learning, entertained, and emotionally supported surpasses anything I expected.

The upside, of course, is the reward in knowing I am doing something good for others, and the enjoyment I derive from building relationships with my students. So, none of this is to complain, but the truth is, I’m tired. Fall break could not have come at a better time, and I did not realize how tired I was until I finally allowed myself to sink into my couch this afternoon and shut my eyes.

Here is the thing, though, I know I am not alone. Teachers are not the only people pushing themselves to their limits. Most jobs are stressful and we also have family and other obligations that require our time and focus. We commit ourselves to a lot because we care about a lot. I get it. However, there has to be the balance, the time to stop and regroup, and sometimes, we have to let a few things go.

Balance is a big reason I have stepped back from my blog in recent months. Between school and family, writing has taken a back seat. Not because I stopped caring about writing, but because I realized other priorities had to come first. My health and my family are of paramount importance, then my job, then my writing. With less time to write, I have focused on my fiction over my blog. It is all a series of trade-offs. When I have more time, I enjoy blogging, when I don’t have time, I have to just let it go.

I know I am fortunate I get to stop, I get time to breathe and fall asleep on the couch as the leaves outside my window change color and the air is a bit more crisp. But, what about everyone else who is not a teacher? What do you do for yourself to allow for a little break, the time to stop and recharge and take care of just you?

Hopefully you have an answer!

One of the

For the past few weeks, my 17 year-old sister stayed with us, which added to my shifting perspective on life and my priorities. Family has always come first, but I feel myself transitioning to a new level of awareness in how important family is to me and what this means in my quest for balance in other areas.

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9 thoughts on “The Importance of Stopping

  1. kingmidget says:

    Great post, Olivia. It’s a reminder that what matters the most is what is closest to you. A reminder I need.
    It’s interesting that you write about exhaustion. I am feeling that so much these days. Today, I got to the end of the day and all I wanted to do was close my eyes. I didn’t even need to come home. If I could have just laid my head down on my desk and slept for a bit, I would have been happy. Exhausted? I can’t even begin to describe how I feel that these days. I’ve pretty much given up on writing and blogging lately.

    • olivia says:

      I’m all for napping in unconventional places πŸ˜‰ Sorry to hear you’re feeling so tired, I feel like that is one of the challenges of writing and simultaneously having a life– at some point you’re giving up something, whether it be balance, or sleep, or… Hope you find some time to relax and regroup. And, at least you published a book this year!

  2. Crystal Spratley says:

    Gosh, you pose one of life’s greatest questions; How do you put yourself first without feeling guilty?

    Well, for me, I have learned a lot about prioritizing and realizing what is important. In the last 5 years, I have had so much happen and in the midst of all the chaos I did not take care of myself. I put all my needs at the end and never got to them. I have been told that this is common for those with big hearts that cannot say no when someone needs help in order to take care of one’s own needs instead. However, even in the midst of all the chaos of everyday life I have learned that, even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes, I must stop to breathe and regroup. I now give myself 30 minutes minimum each day to do something that is for me and only me: reading, journaling, running, or just simply being still outside in the quiet.

    We cannot help others if we, ourselves, are not first well.

    Beautiful picture by the way!!

    • olivia says:

      I love that advice! That’s so awesome you figured out a routine that creates space for yourself to unwind daily. Thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  3. melanie says:

    I hear you…loud and clear.

  4. Tanya Leigh says:

    Important stuff! Thank you for the reminder. And I love that picture of your sister’s hair, it captures a lot.

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