Stress eating. Yep. I've spent every evening this week stuffing my face. My stomach expanded so much I could hardly move. I had a full stomach but yet felt so empty. Why?
As I reduced my pantry's inventory, I took inventory of my mind. I stopped. I reflected. (It takes mindfulness.)
This week, the buzz around our school was that students were going to come back. Our hybrid students would combine, and students would come back for a full five days a week. (This isn't happening, yet.)
I love students! You love students! Normally, I'd be jumping for joy. But at the time of the buzz, the rest of the nation is tightening up. Most of the nation is returning to virtual teaching. (Which I don't believe is ideal for elementary students.) But Covid-19 cases are climbing. So is my anxiety.
That's it! I'm anxious. (Aren't we all with all the unknowns?)
After spending the bulk of my summer in the hospital, I'm a bit afraid of what Covid-19 will do to me. I want to outrun it, for sure. I'm thankful for all the hospital staff who aided in my wellness. Still, I'm perfectly happy to visit the hospital from afar. I now have a compromised immune system. (and I'm no spring chicken.) So my fear is real.
Then came my youngest son's announcement. He works full time at one job and part-time at Starbucks. Last night, he announced all stores in our area except his are closing.
A wave of Covid-19 rippled through and touched every employee. With his proclamation, my anxiety climbed.
Since this is happening to me, I'm reminded and keenly aware that I've got to keep my finger on the pulse of my students, their families, my family, friends, and colleagues. How are they doing?
And honestly, I'm a bit angry. I, like many, was just enjoying going out to restaurants again. With the rising cases of Covid-19, I'll stay home. Again. (It's not the worst thing. It's just an inconvenience to something pleasurable. But, still.)
What's the culprit of my stress eating? Anxiety.
I had to name it to tame it.
So what do you do to tame it?
Gratitude shifts thoughts from negative to positive. Gratitude brings joy and happiness, melting anxiety. I just love Lindsay Titus' podcast. In a recent episode, she shared that she sets her alarm for 3 minutes in the morning upon awakening. While she's still in bed, she spends 3 minutes giving thanks. What a wonderful way to begin the day! I love to write in a gratitude journal. Click here and scroll down to "Resources Just For You" to access your free page.
Gratitude takes many shapes. Take time to be thankful for all you have, but also take time to thank others. It's free. It only takes minutes, and it will shift your focus from yourself to others.
Just this week, I received this beautiful card in the mail. It came unexpectedly from a friend. The words put the wind back in my sail. They were beyond encouraging. I saved the card so I can read it again and again. Take time to thank others. It fills them with joy.
Unplug. Step away. Everything works better with a fresh start. Glitches happen. To surpass them, unplug and start again. When anxiety runs wild, reboot your thoughts. Fill your thoughts with positive. Think about everything going right instead of what might go wrong. Focus on what you can control.
3. Get Moving
We all know movement and exercise makes us feel better. We all know what to do, but often don't do it. I have to overcome my own inertia. Like Newton's Laws: An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. While I advocate for rest, we can't stay there. We've got to get moving. Just this morning, I was cozy by the fire. I didn't want to go for my walk/run, but I know I feel better when I do it. I had to get out of my cozy, warm comfort zone for growth. Guess what? I loved being outside. So whether you run, walk, or just get outside, get moving. Your body will thank you. When you get moving, anxiety exits, and endorphins enter. (Endorphins make you feel better.)
Keep the faith. Focus on what you've already overcome. Remember "Faith over Fear". I focus on God's promises. They are true and steadfast.
I can't say anxiety doesn't rear its ugly head from time to time, but these four things really help me keep it from running wild in my life. Shedding some tears seems to help, too, as I express my worries to a listening ear.
I do know this: your mind can't focus on two thoughts at the same time. I choose to replace my worry with faith and get moving.
I believe in you.
You make a difference!
Do you get frustrated with challenging students? I get it. Go from frustrated to happy and peaceful.
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Learn more about how to cultivate life-changing relationships with families and students in my upcoming book. I share personal student stories and strategies for cultivating culture and community rooted in relationships. It's centered around amplifying all students' potential and unshakeable relationships that raise student achievement. Coming out 2021.