I taped the brightly colored neon paper to the front of my classroom door. There, it’s all done now. Microwaves and mini fridge unplugged-check. Wax warmer unplugged-check. Computer-check. Soothing lamp in the corner of the room-check. Pencil sharpener-yup that too. Nothing else remained except to drag my weary bones home and drop my backpack filled with ungraded papers onto my office floor where-despite all my good intentions, I will inevitably forget about it for a few days. Spring Break is finally here. I made it. Time for living relaxed.
As a grade level, B hall teachers have been comfort eating, and reminding each other daily how many days were left in our countdown. We’ve been giving one another knowing looks and donuts to make it through just one more day. One more day closer to rest. Closer to waking up without scattering around frantically to run copies (while resisting the natural urge to kick the copier that is predictably down again). Without needing to build lesson plans for in person and online classes, ward off disgruntled parents, look at data for students and the list goes on. For two weeks, rest seemed like a far off notion conjured up by some magical being who lives in another world apart from education. Every couple of months this Rest Fairy visits us with one to two weeks of the elusive gift. And we begin the countdown again.
We’ve all perhaps begun to wonder when did we start seeing less and less of it? And when did we decide it was optional? Because most of us are going longer without it and soldiering on bravely-or stupidly. The funny thing about all this is I’m learning, it isn’t just those in education. If you look at how busy our airports have become, it seems we are all searching for that same Rest Fairy’s visit. Life is good for those one to two weeks we manage to wrangle out of the year.
I believe what we really are asking ourselves is: How can living relaxed and less stressed last all year long? Where will I go to find rest for my mind, body and soul throughout the year when I’m not on a ski slope or laying on the warming sands of the beach? So we eat donuts. At least I do. We binge watch our favorite new series on the weekends- me again. I order takeout when I’ve got more than enough choices stocked in my pantry to cook. It’s all escapist tactics when what we really need is a life plan that works.
How can I do better at taking care of myself? That’s really where the question begins. Do I need to change some schedules in order for rest to become a weekly priority? Perhaps the kids do not need to be in a million and one activities. Maybe I take a hit on some material items so that I can devote funds to restful activities like a massage. Maybe-and this is a big one- change jobs, career field, etc.
But even if none of those things seem possible at the moment, what should be asked weekly is this: How can I take better care of my heart? Because if it’s not at rest nothing else will feel restful. My heart, the center of my being, needs rest. It needs to find a safe place to go when life gets tough. That place might be family, friends, friends who have become family or co-workers. That place may be the dream I’m working on while I work my 9-5. That heart place may also just be your faith.
Find Your Heart Place
So I’m looking for my “heart place” this week of Spring Break because I desperately need rest, and I know that the rest fairy is not coming to rescue me. I’ll have to do that myself. We will all have to go in search of our heart place where we will find that security blanket of peace. I wholeheartedly believe it can and will be found if we are determined to search for it diligently. Wherever your heart is leading you that feels restful, peaceful and right are your breadcrumbs, so take the time to follow them. I’m putting down my donuts and going on this journey. I sincerely hope you will join me in my quest to find that place which restores my heart.
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