Yesterday, I was thinking about how much working out and nutrition has become my PRIORITY in the past three months. To be honest, I’ve always been the type of person to prioritize work above all else. Part of the reason why I wanted to leave the food industry is because I wanted to start prioritizing my relationships with my family and friends. However, even as I went into teaching, work was still my priority. At the beginning of the school year, I would wake up, be at school by 6:40AM and leave around 6:00PM. Or bring work home and work until about 8:00PM and then start thinking about taking care of myself. On the weekends, I would still work and lesson plan for at least 4 hours a day. About a quarter of the way through the school year, I started feeling a little burnt out, so I backed off on my hours. I still worked 7 days/week, but by the time February rolled around, I could no longer keep up. I started thinking about working out again and committing to it as a way to get my energy levels up and de-stress.
I went to the gym a few nights a week with my (now) husband. Then I started really getting into working out and started working out 6-7 days/week. When Whole30 started, food prepping became a priority hand-in-hand with working out. If I didn’t work out in the morning, I would workout when I got home. I am now going into work at 7:30AM and leaving every day by 4:00PM (the latest). I share this because, today I was getting observed (which usually means someone from the district comes by to check in). I found out we may be getting observed on Monday. When I prioritized work, I would spend hours ruminating over what to teach, how to teach it, and plan extensively for lessons to make extra sure that I was doing everything I could to make sure the observation went smoothly. Yesterday, I noticed a huge mental shift because I rushed home to work out and made sure I had dinner before I even thought to prep for the observation. Old me would’ve freaked out, panicked, rushed home, spent hours looking for the “best” lesson and then another few hours prepping everything. I am typing this up today because I wanted to wait and see how the observation actually went before I went on to say what I’m going to say now. The observation went just as well as any observation in a classroom can go. I got kudos for doing what the district and principal is focusing on for our school and I didn’t feel unprepared at all. I say this not because I’m an experienced nor excellent teacher (this is my first year and I’m far from both) but because I’ve realized that work should never be the priority. If I don’t spend those extra hours obsessing over the details of doing things perfectly, and I spend some extra hours taking care of myself and my relationships, I can still excel at work. In fact, the positive mindset that comes from having taken care of myself makes me do better at my job when I’m at work and allows me to relax when I’m at home.
So, I guess what they’ve been saying all along is true. It’s important to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Because I no longer miss a workout and am eating healthy 90% of the time (Okay maybe 85% if you count Almond Butter as a unhealthy food) I don’t feel guilty for letting myself down. Because I don’t feel guilty for letting myself down, I’m better equip to deal with all of the other things I may have to prioritize on a daily basis. So, here’s a little “Wohoo, go me!” I have a hard time telling myself I’m doing good, but I’m feeling it today!