Welcoming August

Today marks the start of a new month. The summer has flown by so far. In less than three weeks I will be back in the classroom and doing my best to help my students cope with the anxiety they will most certainly be feeling at the return to school. There is a lot of consternation about the government’s “Roadmap” for returning to school as little to no thought appears to have been given to the safety of the people inside the schools. If we are not allowed to spend a few minutes on a bus without wearing a face mask, then surely we should be wearing face masks for the six hours out of every day that we will be in work – possibly working with groups of students for nine classes a day, a rotating timetable meaning that our students change classes after every 40 minutes. How is this safe for us to do? Why don’t we matter?

Before the teacher-bashing begins, let me be absolutely clear. I want to go back to work. I want to see my kids, to teach them, to help them, to get back to some form of normality. But not if that comes with such a big price. Going back to work may now mean that I will not be able to see my grandparents, or friends and family who are in a high risk category – and all of this because we are being expected to return to schools “as normal” without appropriate measures for the use of face coverings.

I digress though…

Let’s stay in the here and now and get back to what I had originally intended to write about. August, a new month, a fresh start.

Throughout the past few months, I’ve sat back and taken my life into consideration. I’ve come to realise more so than ever before, that it is the little things that matter the most. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always believed this, but I feel that the lockdown has served to highlight this point even further for me. Getting out in nature and taking care of my mental health are high on my priority list and I intend to make this the month where I finally start to honor that need that I have within me to get outdoors more and do more to make myself happy. Sometimes this is much easier said than done. We can tell ourselves that we will do these things and perhaps plan to go somewhere really pretty for a walk, only to find that we get ridiculously lazy and decide to stay on the couch instead, or get lost doing chores that really could wait until another time. For now, I am setting the intention to do something new or fun each week and really be mindful of what I am doing. The aim of the game is to be in the moment, to be mindful, and to enjoy the life that I am curating for myself.

August also marks my five year anniversary with my SO. I turn 32 this month. I want to really soak up this last month of my summer holidays and have a really beautiful time – before the shit hits the fan and we’re back in a world of high pressure, a high stress environment where I feel gut-wrenching worry almost every day and find sleep an impossibility. I need to make this a month on finding more tools to switch off, to relax, and to detach. I would love for this to be the academic year where I let work be work, and not worry constantly about my job. I would love if this year, I was able to gain some perspective and allow myself to detach from work and live a wonderful life where the working week does not impact my stress levels, where I can leave my work-worries in work, and live a beautiful life outside the doors of the building. Maybe this pandemic will have taught me some perspective, maybe I will have learned to focus on what really matters – I work to live, not live to work.

Until next time, C x

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