Archive for the ‘work/life balance’ Category

Things Making Me Happy

Since going on my leave, I’ve been able to focus on ME as much as possible, and it’s been a) very weird and b) awesome.

It’s very rare to get so much time to focus on your own life and happiness, and it was difficult in the beginning. It induced guilt, of course, because I’m used to putting the needs of others before my own (as with many of us).

I know I’m very privileged to get the opportunity to work on this, so I am trying to take advantage as much as I can.  I have been continuing to do the things in my initial post about my leave, and have achieved some of the goals I listed there (baking, new recipes, making phone calls).

The good thing is this inner focus seems to be working to “fill my cup”. A month ago, I was in a deep pit of despair, would break down in a sobbing mess over the simplest things, and I was worried that my heightened anxiety/panic state would lead into a deep depression, as it had in the past.  Now, I am feeling more relaxed and calm regularly, and even have ever-extending moments of happiness.

Here are some things lately that have been making me happy:

  • YOGA is amazing. Even if I go to class in a horrible state of mind, I come out feeling grounded and happy
    • meditation does the same thing!
  • I got tickets to see U2 with two awesome friends
  • I signed up for a knitting class to learn how to make socks (I’ve been wanting to do this for years)
  • I bought a new purse on Etsy, that was exactly what I’ve been looking for (something else I’ve been meaning to do for a long time)
  • READING! I’m on my 4th book already since starting my leave
  • Today, after waking up to help DH get the kids out of the house, I went back to bed and slept until 11am…11 AM!!!!!!!! It was glorious!

Another reason I know this is all helping is the fact that I am able to think about going back to the classroom without panic or anxiety. Last night, I was able to organize my notes/assignments/tests from the last couple of weeks, and I felt neutral about it. It was just a task, not something that was choking me or sending me into tears.

So, onward I go. I know I’m not fully ready to go back, but I am confident I will be able to. In fact, I think I might be in a better mental headspace now than I was in September.

 

Bye-Bye 2016

I have been doing year-end reflections on this blog, and really wanted to do it this year again (even though I haven’t been writing nearly as much). To start, here were my goals from the beginning of 2016:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation ✓
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking ✘
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized ✘
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more ✘
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better ✓

Family

E started grade one and is learning how to read. C has entered his threenager stage. DH and I found two awesome babysitters who kids like, and we’ve been doing date nights more often (but not enough). We stayed at a hornet-infested cottage in the summer, but had some good times too!

Home

After looking at our options, we decided that we’ll stay put. So, instead of looking at real-estate listings, we began thinking of how to improve our home. We added serious colour in our kitchen, DH built a mudroom area in the basement,  we replaced the huge bed & desk in the office with awesome Murphy bed/desk, and we took down hedges at front of our property.

Health

I played soccer this summer, but have decided it’s just not the sport for me. I signed back up at the YMCA, and have been using it much more for swimming and yoga. I’d like to start playing badminton this year and get back to riding my bike.

Mentally, things really went downhill in the Fall, and I stopped doing all the things I know I need to do to have a happy life (eating/sleeping well, exercising, reading, knitting, time with friends). With my time off, I’ll be focusing on making this a priority.

One good thing with my long drive to work (1hr15min each way), I got through a LOT of audiobooks, and hit 13 books for 2016. Check out what I’ve been reading here.

Career

I began the year by teaching at university/college levels, and I quite enjoyed it, but realized quickly it would not be a sustainable career option (low pay, limitations on how much I could work, nowhere to grow).

In the summer, I took 2 additional qualification courses to make me more marketable to public school boards. I got hired by one board as a supply teacher, but didn’t get on to the local board (which is the goal).

I did get my first public high school teaching position in September (what’s called a long-term occasional assignment, where supply teachers fill in for permanent teachers on leave). I was teaching grade 11 and 12 physics, and the contract was until the end of January. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to overwhelming stress/anxiety. I’ll get back into the game when I’m ready, but will only be supply teaching.

 

There’s my 2016 in a nutshell! Stay tuned for what my hopes are for 2017.

Filling My Cup

Hi – it’s been a while.

Without getting into too many details, the start of my career in the public education sector has been pretty bumpy. Severe anxiety and several off-the-charts panic attacks have led to me take a leave of absence only 3 months in.

Needless to say, there was a lot that I was not prepared for or to handle. With my time off, I am trying to learn to fill my own cup before running on empty. The old “put your oxygen mask on before helping someone else” idea is definitely something I need to focus on if I want to be successful in this career.

Things I have been doing that have been helpful are:

  • yoga multiple times a week
  • learning the art of meditation
  • reading
  • knitting
  • seeing a new counsellor
  • starting medication again (same one I was on during teacher’s college).

One thing that I have been doing that has not be helpful is relaxing too much. I find that I can get drawn into excessive laziness where I’m just scanning Facebook over and over, watching mindless TV that I don’t really care about, eating junk, and napping.

That might sound like a good thing after what I’ve been through, but after a day like that (such as today) I feel groggy, even more tired, and grumpy. It does not fill my cup.

I need to have productive times so that relaxation time is time to wind down (it’s hard to wind down from a lowest energy state). There is a list of things I’d like to do/get done that are simple/easy tasks but are also productive:

  • Christmas baking
  • Create C’s 3rd year book
  • Cleaning
  • Making some phone calls that I’ve need to do for months
  • Looking for new recipes

So, the plan is to 1) get out of the house at least once per day to do something (hopefully enjoyable) as per my doctor’s orders, and 2) do at least 1 thing productive per day.

I’m unsure when I’ll return to work (but now in week 3 of my leave, I’m finally able to think about it without going into a panic attack), but I want to feel strong and ready to handle the unpredictable nature of the game.

Changes for the Summer

I’m done teaching my university and college course, so I’m heading into the post-secondary summer (yay for 4 months!).

E will stop attending before/after school program starting tomorrow, and I’ll be walking him to and from school every day. I’m excited about it because a) it’ll force me to move and b) I get to spend some good 1-on-1 time with him.

C will be going back to part-time at the daycare and will be home with me on Tuesday/Thursday each week. This will allow me to have some nice 1-on-1 time with him as well.

I’m a bit nervous, because the summer last year was very hard for me because it was just TOO MUCH kid time after a very stressful and busy academic year. But, I’ve put some things into place that will hopefully make this summer more enjoyable:

  • I’m taking a couple additional qualification courses for teaching (special education and getting my physics teachable). This will help me make strides toward my goal of getting into a public school board, but shouldn’t be too stressful (I hope!)
  • I’ve registered E in 3 summer camps, so that’s 3 weeks with him out of the house and being around kids his age
  • Both sets of grandparents will be visiting
  • We have booked a cottage for a week
  • I have joined a women’s soccer team in the hopes it will motivate me to move more AND I get automatic social time every week

At the end of summer last year I was more frazzled than at the beginning and ended up taking a not-so-great job just so I could BE AWAY. So, here’s hoping this year will be better (and hopefully with some kind of decent employment in September.

2015 Review

I hope to keep this short, mostly because 2015 was generally “meh”.

If I were to describe the year in as few words as possible it would be “exhausting holding pattern”.

The first four months were alright, with me finishing up teacher’s college. But, after the excitement of taking another step along my career change path, things just kind of stopped.

The summer months were me being at home with the kids (which is pretty much my personal torture).

September brought on my first high school teaching job – a good first step, but it was way too much work (often worked all day, then all evening, taking away any fun time with family, friends, etc) for way too little pay. So, this was the last 3.5 months.

We were unable to do anything exciting around the house because of lack of income on my side (school, no job, then extremely low paying job will do that).

We did get to travel out west to visit our families for an extended time – that was probably the highlight.

So, though 2015 wasn’t a bad year, it certainly wasn’t all that fun either. Looking forward to the flip of the calendar in just a few days.

Vacation & Aimless

The kids and I returned yesterday from almost 3 weeks away visiting family out West. We first visited DH’s family in Vancouver, then to Kelowna for a family wedding (my side), then DH went back to Vancouver for a couple extra days before returning home and I took the kids to Calgary to spend a week with my family.

It was a good trip, and it was awesome to spend so much time with family (which the boys LOVED – so much attention!) and seeing old friends. I did have to fly home with the kids on my own, and that was like living out a personal nightmare. As someone who suffers from anxiety and is a constant people-pleaser, having “those kids” on a 3+ hour flight was horrifying. I broke into tears a number of times. Thankfully the second (much shorter – 30 minute) flight went smoothly.

While away I had lots of time to think about things, and I realized I feel lost in a lot of aspects in my life.

  • Job situation: I have started applying for teaching jobs, but it seems it will be a lot more frustration and take much longer than I anticipated. I also have to explain the process to anyone who knows that I just finished my BEd and expects me to be teaching RIGHT NOW. Then, all the $$ issues that arise when one is looking for work and/or in the middle of changing careers.
  • Children: I’m (we’re) at a total loss with how to parent C. He is so different than E was at this age. He doesn’t respond to “No”, “Stop”, or anything of the like. Time outs don’t work. He is very defiant. He’s a runner (and by that I mean, he runs away). He’s a shit-disturber. I’m sure these characteristics will work out for him as an adult, but right now it is beyond frustrating. I never thought I’d say this, but E was (and is) a pretty easy kid.
  • Self Care: Since school ended for E in June, this has gone to the VERY bottom of the list and I feel it. I’ve been eating like garbage, haven’t been exercising, and haven’t been doing things for me. I feel like a lump of mush, and am on the verge of an anxiety attack or depression.
  • Home Care: I have a to-do list around here that’s a mile long, and just keeps growing. Many of which are thinks I actually WANT to do (like doing annual photo books for E and C) and putting old baby stuff on Kijiji to sell. But, I just can’t motivate myself to do any of it. It’s like I’m paralyzed by volume of things that need to be done.

So, we’re back and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Next week E goes to a day camp, and C is still in daycare twice a week, so hopefully that will let me breath a bit, because I feel like I haven’t taken a breath since Jun 25th.

Last Day

Today is my last day of maternity leave before I head to school. I flip-flop between being slightly sad to not have the kids around to feeling WOOHOO about not having the kids around and doing my own thing and being nervous about a bunch of stuff…

– Will I be able to cope, especially with my fatigue? It’s still a factor, and some days I get so tired it makes me cry. My other deficits come out more when I’m tired too. I’m scared that this will be a problem at school, and especially during practicum where I have to be in a high school by 7:30/8am and be there all day.

– I’m SO scared of the daycare (and kindergarten) sickness train(s). I’m scare of getting sick myself. I’m scared of having to take time away from classes/practicum to care for sick kids (or myself), and DH having to do this too. I’m scare that it’s going to go on and on and make the next few months a living hell. I’m just hoping the professors and teachers will be understanding of this.

– I’m worried about how all the logistics will work out – between my schedule changing between when I’m at classes (3 days a week I won’t get home until 7pm 😦 ) and when I’m doing practicum, and what that means for pick-up/drop-offs for the boys, which of course will be at different locations and different times. Having to make lunches, how our routines are going to change.

– Last, and probably the most important, how are the kids going to deal with all the changes? How will our family deal with all the changes?

I know once things get going and we get into our new routines, things will calm down and roll along nicely. I know that I’ll enjoy school and think it will be a fun year in that sense, and I know it will be worth it in the end,  but my mind keeps going back to these worries and wondering how the next few weeks and months will go.

What are your own stories (good or bad) of going through a big transition for yourself or your family? How did you cope? Those with kids who have done daycare and then transitioned to school, was there another bout of sickness? Those with more than 1 kids, how was daycare sickness the 2nd (or more) time around? 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: