Staying Home, but not on Vacation

Every vacation at home is not necessarily a “stay-cation.” This week I got to stay in my house and do what I wanted. Except, I looked at my to-do list and it read all these things EYE didn’t necessarily want to do:

  • Finish Progress Reports
  • Work on IEP’s
  • Update my blog
  • Finish current book
  • Start a new book
  • Submit resignation
  • Take a break from Twitter
  • Finish listening to the podcast Missing Richard Simmons
  • Find a new OB/GYN

You get the idea… Basically, I’m still busy, just in a different setting. As far as how to manage the time, I tried my best to reduce my TV intake (even though I’m falling behind on a lot of shows!) and attempted to do the least-desirable things first. Well, that didn’t work out too well. I really wonder how people who work from home get anything productive done. I guess for money’s sake, it gets done.

Firstly, I looked around my apartment Tuesday and decided I could not relax in mess. I had to clean the living room, take care of the bathroom and finally clean out the trash bin (you know, get all in there and wash out those smells.) After that, I didn’t want to do anything else that day. I cooked the night before, so that covered us through Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I overslept and was feeling off. I really hate waking up close to midday, as it feels like I almost lost the whole day. I talked to my cousin in Costa Rica, as she happened to take some “sick days” and is usually good with cheering me up. Then I texted my therapist (“I know I said I was taking a week off…but…”) I ate some cereal, however really did not have much appetite. I spent most of the day scrolling through Twitter, thinking, I really need a break from this. I caught up on some paperwork, and looked at my work email. There was a request in there. I dismissed it, annoyed.

Today, I woke up in a better mood. I took my braids out, put a little make-up on, time for a new vlog! I spent over an hour trying to get the video right, but my iPad and its shitty storage had another plan for me. Then I had to go from 12 minutes, to 8, to a little over 6 minutes. After the 6th take, I still posted the vlog. I’ve also started this new habit where I want to run around my complex at least 2 times a week. I know this will get a little harder as it gets warmer, but it’s a nice challenge as my complex is about 1.3 miles with hills and the like. Right now I’m doing a combo of fast walking and a little running. I’m hoping to build my stamina. So I ran today. And I was reminded how social media really takes us away from the moment before the moment even happens. For example, before I even laced my sneakers I thought about how I was gonna Snap my scenery. For Who? For the stalkers SnapChatters. For Why? Because. I want people to know I’m out here doing stuff. It’s all for show. So I’m back on a “scrolling” break.

I did cross some things off my list this week, but it was nothing close to a vacation or the most productive week off work. Just a break from waking up early, getting dressed, working my magic, and passing out after work. Which was needed, God knows.

Coping with Stress

Sometimes I recognize when I’m stressed, and other times, it’s like a typical Wednesday and I just want the work day to end. My coping mechanisms depend on my mood. At times I want to come home and pour myself a bottle of wine. Other times I push myself to the gym, or to pick up some take-out that will help me feel better. Some weeks, I countdown to Thursday when I have my #therapytime. I try not to judge myself too hard when I don’t see the gym for weeks on end. I recognize some coping mechanisms are healthier than others, but they are all helpful in just getting me through the DAY.

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Day by day is the only way we can live, taking what comes and rolling with the punches. With my job, it helps to prepare for the weeks to come, and possibly to take one day or one afternoon to plan for the 2-3 days ahead. In a PERFECT world. Planning and prepping is ideal, but realistically not always possible. Also, there’s times when unexpected things come up, and boom! you have to drop what you have planned and make like a rubber band (super stretchy.)

When it comes to stress management, I recognize Twitter works for and against my productivity. Sometimes during down-time, I vent to the the Twitterverse. I also document tidbits of my day; something a student has said during therapy, or some epiphany I’ve had in the course of the workday. Kids can be comic relief any day. Those days, I’m reminded why I love pediatrics. On days I’m just trying to get a student to sit down and care about what we are doing, my attitude becomes I’m over it and cannot wait until Friday, or spring break, or June (depends on the severity.)

Don’t misunderstand me. I am thankful for my career, which wasn’t an easy road. I think it’s easy to get discouraged, or loose patience, especially when you’re working with others. My ultimate take-away from working in a school environment is: YOU CANNOT CONTROL OTHERS. You hope for a “team-focused, positive, communicative” school team. IN A PERFECT WORLD everyone will consider one another and communicate well. You hope for on-board parents that will take your recommendations seriously. You hope for students that will not refuse services and will put forth their best effort. And this may be the case, overall, but in only takes a couple of difficult students to make things seem unbearable.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Therefore, stress can be expected. IT can also be managed, not in a pre-determined way someone else says you should manage it, but by paying attention to your current habits in a non-judgmental way.

What are some ways you manage your stress?

What are some habits you realize help manage stress that you hadn’t taken into account before?

-Tica

Work, Work, Work, Work…

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Last night, I stumbled upon a great article on Tactus Therapy about transitioning settings as a speech language pathologist (from schools to medical.) It’s very scary to think about making drastic changes, but I’m learning the older I get that without risk, there’s no reward. I think the most stifling feeling when it comes to work is the thought of being “stuck” or that you don’t have any options. Every speech language pathologist I’ve come in contact with, has chartered their own path. I love listening to “how I got here” stories. I’ve met veterans in school systems, private practice owners, doctoral students, clinicians who aspire to effect change on the state and local level by being active in State organizations, and I’ve read about SLP’s who have landed dream jobs abroad. Many hats, same passion.

I am also a Reddit lurker, because sometimes one can stumble upon the most provoking threads. In our field, sometimes it’s hard to find the answers you’re looking for by searching a simple Google question. I remember a big question that my graduating class had was realistic salary expectations coming out of school. I know there are many factors to consider (setting, hours, productivity, etc.), but I think having that information is empowering (especially in a female-dominated field where the N word is difficult.)  Salary is not something you go up to a professor and discuss casually, and we (as a class) got the feeling that it was neither “proper” or “professional” to expect a direct answer or number. But it sure would have been helpful. In my experience in reading Reddit threads, people are more willing to share numbers to strangers across the interwebs. The transparency is just one aspect that we may lose in the spirit of “decorum.”

I’m writing this because I’m recognizing very early that the school setting is not a long-term reality for me. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years (one year CF, and 2 “on my own”) from 2 different school districts. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with keeping schools running, however, it is not for everyone. It is a tiresome, thankless job that no one does for money. But you’ve probably already heard that tune. I think the most exciting question to answer is… so what’s next?

The aforementioned article closes with the the thought that one should “travel toward what excites them, not away from what scares them.” In other words, it’s all about perspective. Recognizing what’s NOT for you is just as important as what is. The journey is the fun part, and the plan is what drives the goal. This year, I am embracing the plan and not becoming overwhelmed by big tasks. I’m striving to take a step every day towards not settling, committed to staying fulfilled, motivated and present.

How do you stay motivated when finding the right work setting?

I remain,

She

8 Reasons to Wake Up Each Morning

  1. There’s still places to see. I haven’t traveled to Europe, Asia, or Africa. Have a lot more ground to cover.
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Taken in Prince Frederick, MD. 7.10.16

2. There’s more new foods to try. Along with new places, come new cultures to consume. I’m ready to eat!

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Fried conch in the Bahamas.

3. Someone depends on your smile. May be the least likely person; and your smile does something for them.

4. Your destiny hasn’t been fulfilled yet. Even on the lowest on low days, there’s still an assignment that can only be carried out by you.

5. There’s no one that can do things quite like you. You are really good at making a presentation, teaching, counseling, listening, planning, and making macaroni and cheese. Sure, these things have been done before. But, not quite the way you do them.

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Service Project. Croix-des-bouquet, Haiti.

6. Each day is full of NEW. We are granted new opportunities, have the chance to try again at something we may have previously failed at. Try again, with more wisdom.

7. The days are not promised to you. We go to bed knowing we will wake up the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. Not always the case. Have to thank God for all the days, even Mondays.

8. You are another day to closer to your dreams.

 

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Whatever your reason is, I hope you’re inspired.

Love,

She