As a first year teacher, I have a series of seminars to attend care of my district's human resources department. We have already had our first three, and they have been much more helpful than I anticipated. We have subs for the day, and we learn new strategies, and we get to talk with other first year teachers at our grade level and just vent our frustrations. It is amazing what a relief it can be to just vocalize what you are going through...in fact, talking to friends is one of the stress relievers that we learned at the last seminar.
During the unit on stress and anxiety, we all took a test to gauge our stress level over the last twelve months. There is a long list of life events, each assigned a points value, and you add up your points to see what category you fall in. I was reminded of the roller coaster of emotions that the last year has been filled with. Wedding, moving cross-country, changing careers, and losing grandma were the big ones, of course. Then there are other things that I tend to forget count, like the health of family members, job security, a new work environment, and trying to make new friends. By the end of the test, I was left unsure how to feel about my score that was quite literally, off the charts.
All of us first year teachers had to come up and paste dots on the bar graph to represent our score, and my dot was off the paper, up on the wall. One comforting thing was that I was not alone, there were a handful of other dots joining me off the paper. It reminded me that everyone checks the box yes for most of the things on that test at some point in their life. We all go through good periods and not-so-good periods...maybe I should be looking forward to the positive period that has to be coming my way. The other comforting thing was that I also scored pretty high for job satisfaction...so I am putting myself (and Joshua) through a period of mental anguish with my decision to switch careers via Texas, but I am enjoying it somewhat?
This brings me to another one of the stress-relievers from the seminar that I realized I already take advantage of whenever appropriate, laughing at yourself. It's true, stepping back and realizing how ridiculous you are/life is can relieve some pent up anxieties.
Ok, it's after 10, way past Mrs. Fallin's bed time...