Having time to relax is vital as a teacher but what happens if you have too much time or you crave routine? Ms Glynn writes about how she is battling through the summer holidays.
Well now this was a shocker. Depression and anxiety while at work isn’t great but I get it. Having it while on summer holidays, though, is just cruel. It’s like the cold that pops up the last day of term and lasts 3 weeks! I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t expecting it and it hit me like a truck.
Allow me to rewind and explain…
I managed to navigate the pitfalls of heading back to work, teaching again and in a whole new environment too. In fact I didn’t “manage”, I THRIVED! And like any teacher, new and veteran, I was very much looking forward to the summer, my only excuse is after 18 months of not working 5 weeks seemed like a very long time!
My summer started great; I had a wedding in Croatia where I got to ditch the family and explore on my own for a few days. My best friend got married last week so I spent the second week helping her organise, going to spas and then there was the actual wedding! The highest of highs.
And you’ve guessed it, what follows the highs except the lows.
It didn’t help that I had a couple of knockbacks in my love life (shhhh! We’re teachers and obviously robots who never date), right around wedding season where all the couple’s come out in force. But I was actually coping with that ok. For me it was the endless amount of time I had to over think things. I mean it’s incredible how much thinking can be done in an hour let alone a week!!
With the end of the school year comes the end of the routine and structure I’d begun to crave. Since getting back from traveling I find it hard to do nothing, it seems wasteful. I yearn to get out and experience things. But it’s woefully easy to put a new series on Netflix and lose a day or 2. It’s easy to go out partying on a Wednesday and then again on Thursday. And in this weather it’s easy to lie in the garden and burn. Faster than I thought possible I found myself falling down the rabbit hole into habits that I’d broken years ago. The anxiety started back with a vengeance and once that voice gets to a certain loudness it’s mighty hard to tell it is wrong.
If you haven’t experienced anxiety, I like to give the example of being up at 2am thinking about the randomest things and not being able to stop. Sometimes that is what my a anxiety comes out as but the thoughts are less random and more insulting, belittling. My brain loves to play a reel of my most embarrassing moments at particularly low moments. So I’ll leave it to you to imagine the mean and mostly untrue things I was essentially telling myself.
But this isn’t a sad story; it has a happy ending. One that involves a yurt, Sussex and more stars than you can count.
When I left therapy 2 years ago my therapist said I have all the tools I’ll ever need, it’s just a question of using them.
I knew what I was doing wasn’t healthy for me. The question was what was I going to do about it? It’s really easy to wollow in your anxiety, wrap it around you like a winter coat protecting you from the cold. It’s a lot harder to tell it “no your wrong!”
And it was wrong (is wrong). After exactly 2 days wrapped up in my coat wallowing I decided to leave London. Nature is what I love and it was nature I was missing so I googled cool places to stay and stumbled across the weird and wonderful world of yurts (big tents, kind of like a teepee). I got in my car and drove for 2 hours until I arrived at this little slice of heaven in Sussex. I’ve been on walks (10km and 15km), taken baths underneath a blanket of stars, cooked dinner on an open fire and nearly finished my book sitting on a swinging chair overlooking this beautiful country we live in.
I know there’s still challenges ahead when I go back home, I know I need to put more structure into my days during the holiday, get out there and do something. There is so much out there we are spoiled for choice, and literally all of those choices are better than Netflix (yes there is a time and a place, it’s just not all day every day).
And a final thought to leave you with…..
If I feel this way and I already know a few other teachers struggle with the lack of structure (thank you Twitter); then how do the students cope?