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From burnout to balance: Resetting with the new year

From burnout to balance: Resetting with the new year

You know, when I look back on my last few posts, they seem pretty chirpy. Honestly, though, I can’t remember a time in the year and a half I’ve been writing this blog that I have felt so depleted.

What a year. The Auckland teacher shortage (a phrase I googled to make sure it wasn’t a figment of my imagination and got 489,000 hits in less than a second) continued. My father – a refugee who arrived here aged sixteen, unaccompanied by any family and probably the main reason I’ve chosen to work with immigrant kids – died. I can’t even type this without tearing up. My ulcerative colitis returned and I haven’t been able to eat fruit, vegetables, nuts or wholegrains for a couple of months.

Of course, wonderful things happened too: my brother got married to a lovely woman and I moved into my dream house – small, modest and within running distance from work, but these events required organisation and effort. Overwhelmed, and with that weird logic that sometimes comes over us when we are having a rough time, I chose to make things worse for myself rather than better.

I can’t remember a time when I’ve dropped so many healthy habits. I stopped running and going to the gym for a month or two. I went to sleep later and later. I stopped writing down things I was grateful for. I even gave up on tiny little habits that cost nothing in terms of time and effort, such as standing on one leg when brushing my teeth (sounds weird, but there’s solid evidence this helps to improve balance).

As a teacher, I have to constantly remind myself that learning isn’t linear. You have to keep circling back and re-teaching stuff. Just because we did page 15 in the book yesterday, doesn’t mean everyone in the class is ready for page 16 today. Some of them need another look at page 15 and some are still stuck somewhere near the front cover.

As it is in the classroom, so it is in life. I’ve made it to the end of 2018 and I know I’ve got a lot to re-learn in 2019. Bring it on.

First published: January 2019

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