How has it already been three weeks since my last post? This seemed a lot easier last year, but I will keep trying to soldier on and get better.
I wrote about hitting the reset button over the summer, and in many ways, this post is along the same lines, but I’m going to expand it a lot more. There is a constant back and forth on social media about the validity of breaks for teachers. I even got it today when someone told me that it must be nice to be able to get a couple of weeks off when everyone else is working. I won’t get into the battle, but like (what I assume) most teachers do when presented with this question in person, I got a bit combative. My first response is always something along the lines of, “yeah, but I am working through most of my break.”
Like most things said in response to a backhanded comment, there was definitely truth to my statement, but also a bit of omission. Yes, I am working hard over this winter break. I’ve got my list of tasks, both school-related and home-related, however, I am also getting some much needed rest and relaxation before the second semester begins.
What I am really working on, though, is a reset of my health, which seems to always slip away over the course of a school year. Like many other years, I went into the school year on a healthy eating plan and a workout schedule, and then over the first few months of the semester it slowly dwindled away, until I spent the final month before winter break telling myself that I had “earned” all the junk food that I stopped for on the way home.
This year, my relapse started around Halloween. For some reason, my 4-year-old decided that he did not like any of the candy that I love, so not only did I attack all the leftover candy that we didn’t hand out, but I was also gifted a lot of my son’s candy as well. From there it went to vending machine donuts on particularly stressful days, pieces of birthday cake for coworkers that I can usually stay away from and many other unhealthy choices.
When I was a new teacher, I spoke a lot with a more veteran teacher and he told me something that I just could not understand at the time. He said that every school year he gained 15 pounds, and then he spent the summer trying to work off as much of it as he could. If you do the quick math, that is not a viable game plan. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I get it now. No matter how much you pace the room during the day, teaching is still at its heart a sedentary job. It can be overwhelming, can often include meetings before or after school, and by the time you get home, you have no energy to do anything more than you have to. If you don’t have a plan, that weight gain is real and can add up over time.
As I headed into break last week, I started to come up with a plan. I’d go back to the dietary plan that has worked for me in the past, and actually make it a point to work out every day. This is usually my downfall. The working out that is, not the planning.
Breaks are when I do all my Netflix bingeing (you can spell it that way, I checked), and today I watched a comedy special by Dmitri Martin. He actually made a joke about his workout journey, and although this wasn’t the punchline, he mentioned that he was great at making lists, but terrible at following through. I am very similar in that way.
You need a plan? Come to me.
You need to execute your plan? Well, I can usually give you a few good weeks.
I’m currently on day 4 of this health reboot. I know I’m supposed to get some sort of endorphin rush (I’m an English teacher, not a scientist, so don’t quote me on that) from working out, but I never really have. I like playing sports, but a balky knee prevents me from making that a long term plan. I’ve been eating healthy and working out every day for four days straight and I know the aftermath will feel great. I’ve seen it before when I look at old group photos on my wall in my classroom. However, the present is just rough. Even with time, I still have to force myself to work out, and plans of doing it early in the morning usually get eschewed until right before bedtime.
My plan is to go overboard on this for the next week and a half until I start second semester, and then hope to maintain some regularity once the stress resurfaces. Finding a way to regulate is key; not getting too high or too low. By the time we get to Spring Break, I’ll hopefully be able to write a post about how I’ve been able to keep it up and cruise into the summer. If that doesn’t happen, I’m sure you’ll hear all about along the way.