Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Perfect Mid-Week Reset - A Mini-Weekend!

Ready for yoga class and enjoying the Oklahoma Fall sunshine.

Life of a high school teacher:

Mondays are hard. In class, it's like turning a rusty crank...students are tired and unmotivated, and not in the mood.

Tuesdays classes go a little better, but you expended a lot of energy yesterday getting that crank going, so Tuesdays aren't necessarily a rest and recoup day either.

Wednesdays require more energy, and you find yourself looking at the second half of the week going, wow, it's already been a long week and I still have 2.5 days to go.

Thursdays you're just glad tomorrow is Friday.

Friday you get a huge mood boost because in a few more hours, it's the weekend, and you can rest and recoup.

What we need, my friends, is a mini-weekend in the middle. On Wednesdays after school, to be exact.

I'm going to share my Mid-Week Reset Mini-Weekend Plan below, but yours might be totally different. I just want to encourage you to use this as inspiration if nothing else, and come up with your own little mini-weekend plan to beat stress, revitalize your mind and body, and create some joy right smack dab in the middle of the teaching week.

Well, it's Wednesday, hump day. I don't FEEL like bouncing around right after school, grinning like a fool, strutting around with my shoulders back. How do I jumpstart that "Unlimited power-Tony Robbins" state?

One Recent Wednesday I Nailed It - Here's How

I took very comfy, not-necessarily-attractive yoga clothes to work with me. As soon as my last class of the day left, I went to the faculty restroom to change. I was tired, a little irritated, and unmotivated, and it took me a lot longer than it should have, but I pressed on.

Ironically, a teacher came in to the bathroom, and it sounded like she was crying. A younger girl, and when I came out of the stall, I asked her if she was okay. Problems with students, she said ruefully.

I knew exactly how she felt. I've spent many an afternoon crying over this job and how painful and difficult it can be at times. Many more times than I care to admit, and I told her so.

I asked her her name, and we told each other what we taught. (I was new to NHS last fall and I hardly knew any of the staff, because our days are spent in our own classrooms attending to the wave after wave of students who come in and out.)

I left the building wishing there were some way I could wave a magic wand and make teaching a fun, easy job where students came to school eager to learn and show respect, and teachers could devote their energy to being creative and innovative in their instruction.

The warm sunshine outside was a relief to my senses, and I loaded up my things to drive to Grey Owl Coffee shop.

This isn't the Grey Owl. This is Uptown Espresso in Seattle, but the photo looks good here so I'm using it. :)

Change of Scenery + Creative Time

The Grey Owl was full of people drinking coffee and working on laptops, cool, quiet, and perfect. I ordered a jasmine green tea, sweetened it with a packet of stevia from my bag, and sat down to work on my novel (didn't know I wrote novels under a pen name, did you??? I just released the one at that link. ;-)) I only had 45 minutes before my colleague Erin's yoga class started back at NHS, so I set a timer on my phone for 30 and opened my laptop.

No time to waste means you'll get right to work and make every second count, so I jumped right in to 5th century Europe with my hero running through the woods escaping his own execution, wounded, thinking about his brother.

The light caffeine from the yummy tea plus 30 minutes spent on my favorite hobby was perfect for changing my state. I left the coffee shop feeling energized, productive, happy, and free.

Movement + Relaxing the Mind and Body

I know of no other workout besides yoga that has the effect of energizing you while relaxing and calming you at the same time. Between gentle stretches and strengthening poses, breathing, and focusing on being in the moment, all the cares of the day were long gone. I felt happy to be a part of the community--of teachers doing yoga together in the middle of the week, of 30-somethings (with some college students and older folks thrown in) working and talking quietly at the coffee shop, and of all the diverse people who call Norman, Oklahoma home.

I left smiling and feeling physically better than I had all day.

This isn't the easy dinner I describe below. This is a Roasted Broccoli Bowl, and it was the first food pic I could find to post here. :)

Easy Dinner + Winding Down

I threw some veggies in a steamer basket on the stove (a yam, some brussels sprouts, and later, some broccoli,) and made a pot of tri-color quinoa. I soaked in the tub for 20 minutes while those things cooked, then added the broccoli to the steamer basket for a final 10 minutes of steaming while the quinoa rested and got nice and fluffy. Had all that with a side of edamame and some raw walnuts, then sat with a hot tea watching YouTube until bedtime.

Read a good book until sleep, and woke up Thursday refreshed and ready to face the last two days before the weekend with renewed vigor.

Make Yourself a Plan

Your midweek mini-weekend needs to involve the following elements:

1. Some kind of movement or exercise. Go for a walk if the weather's okay; go to a yoga class or pull up a YouTube video and do it in your living room; hit the gym; do some kind of mind-clearing movement.

2. Something that you consider to be fun and creative, something that takes your mind completely off work for at least a half hour or more.

3. A healthy, non-weigh-you-down meal. Something delicious and veggie-centric. Oh and drink a liter of water right after your exercise, before you cook or go for take-out. And no excuses for crappy fast food--there are plenty of healthy fast food options these days. A few of my favorites--a salad bowl at Qdoba loaded with beans, veggies, and guac; a falafel and greek salad plate at Garbanzos or Zoe's; a box of salad goodies and cooked vegetables from Whole Foods' deli...or throw some delicious root vegetables and crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages) in a steamer basket like I did and go, "wow, steamed vegetables are actually delicious!" - and then do that more often, like at least twice a week. :)

4. No grading or parent communications via email or phone.

5. Go to bed on time, lights out, and rest up. No late-night TV or phone-distraction. :)

Here is wishing YOU a wonderful Wednesday!!!

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