I am going to be honest. Lately, I have been exhausted! I find myself going to bed earlier and earlier and if I don't, I can't help but nod off on the couch. My alarm goes off in the morning and it is like waking the dead. I have been doing my morning yoga with my eyes still closed and if I go to the gym after work, I feel like I am a zombie, going through the motions.
It is slightly unnerving. Maybe it is because I slept in all summer and now am up at 5:00 a.m. every day. Maybe it is the fact that I am back to work. Maybe it is the extra time and mileage to my commute. Maybe it is my students. Maybe it is the fact that it is my second year on the job (I thought I would have a better handle on things, but I am finding that I have so much more to figure out). Maybe it is our new home, new city, new routines.
While I was driving home from work yesterday at 9:00 p.m., after our back to school parent night, I did a little reflecting. After all the parents had left, my coworker and mentor had expressed how exhausted she felt and it was then that I realized just how much that rang true. Staying at work so late and being "on" for two hours answering parents' questions was exhausting.
I began to question, though, why I felt like this every day for the past few weeks. While listening to my loud mix of uncensored rap, heavy metal and showtunes, I realized that I hadn't done that in a while. Listening to this weird mix of music after a long day at work used to be comforting. Lately, though, I have found myself listening to whatever is on, zoning out on the drive home.
I also began to think about the other things I have stopped doing regularly. Things like writing, grocery shopping once a week instead of anytime we need something, meal planning, going for nightly walks with my husband, and the list goes on. I began to realize that somewhere along the line, I have lost my balance. I have put all my effort into being "on" at work and zone out during the rest of my life.
Last year and in the year prior, I tried consciously to create a strong work/personal life balance and this year I feel like I have lost that. I come home after rushing around to get things into order for my students and staff and worry about what I might have forgotten to do. My students and ways to improve the way I am teaching is constantly on my mind. The bad thing about that is I have stopped doing the things that comfort me. I have stopped being present in things that are not work related. I am just going through the motions of the day when I am home.
The thing that strikes me is how easily this happened, how quickly I slipped into this school year trance. I am thankful, though, for the moment I realized it. I am grateful for a weekend to relax and for time to be present in things that are separate from my job, but still bring me joy. I am grateful for my new "long day playlist" to drive home to and candles and books and tea and all the things I find comfort in. I need to remember to stay balanced and present always.