I know what many (most?) of you are being asked to do right now is NOT reasonable or sustainable.
And because you could never have enough time and energy to do everything that kids need right now, the solution could never be for you to just work harder.
We are still in a pandemic. This is not a “normal” school year. Regardless of how much districts want to pretend we can hold to the exact same expectations as last year, we cannot.
Of course you’re distracted and panicky and overwhelmed and unfocused at times. Of course your students are the same way.
We can’t be expected to accomplish what we normally accomplish because our world is not functioning as it normally does.
Rather than trying to keep our frantic pace and be productive like nothing has changed…
What if we allow ourselves space to explore different approaches, and give ourselves permission to have adjustment periods for continually changing routines?
What if we choose time for disconnecting from the outside world, and prioritize reconnecting with ourselves?
What if we stop pushing ourselves and our kids 24/7 to keep trying to accomplish more, and instead have some time to just be together for a while?
What if we stop worrying about getting ahead for a moment, and read and play games and cook and take naps and go for walks and have conversations and just … be?
We need physical rest. We need mental rest. We need emotional rest.
None of this is easy in a culture that determines our worth by how hard we work, how much we produce, and how much money we earn. We’ve been conditioned to feel guilty for taking a break or “doing nothing” or “wasting time.”
But that approach is part of the old paradigm which has to fall away and be replaced with a way of working, teaching, and learning that is humanized and centered on wellbeing rather than accomplishment.
Your worth is inherent to your being; it is not tied to how much you get done.
You have the right to simply exist and not perform, create, produce, or serve others every single moment in order to feel of value.
Pushing yourself to work more when your body's calling for rest will not help you get ahead.
So, resist the pressure to perform at optimal levels when we are not working in optimal conditions.
You deserve grace and compassion. Give those things to yourself when no one is giving it to you.
Remember that rest is necessary for your survival. It’s not something you “earn” after you’ve checked off everything on your (never ending) to-do list. You do not need to apologize for needing to rest.
Will you close the laptop after 7 pm every night?
Refuse to think or worry about school on Saturdays?
Schedule a block of time into your calendar this week in which you do something that is rejuvenating and reenergizing?
Don’t overthink it: just pick an approach that sounds easy and manageable right now, and DO IT. Any time for rest is better than none.
A huge block of free time is not going to magically appear, and the weight of unfinished work is not going to lift on it’s own. No one is going to create boundaries for you.
So, don’t wait for someone else to offer you the opportunity to take a break.
Claim your right to rest.