Hello friends, insert sigh here….if you’re like me, my family and many other families I saw this week and heard from, you’re exhausted.
Somehow, the calendar turned over to May and kids and families, who previously were doing “OK”, suddenly felt overwhelmed and exhausted.
Be sure to go back and read previous posts on managing worry and recognizing stress in kids. But in the meantime, I want all of you to join me for a collective deep breath.
Let me be clear. It’s normal for all of us to go through emotional ups and downs. During the day and even hour-to-hour, this is a grind. But, this past week felt heavier. Families felt fragile. Kids began to fall apart. Teachers were crying. Parents wanted to throw in the towel. Something in May signified a mixed message for many. We think May means spring, fun, 6 weeks of school, graduations, celebrations and all things new. What it felt like was loss, overwhelm, and SIX MORE WEEKS OF SCHOOL?
Naturally, this time of year is tough for any student, ask a teacher. Kids are restless, tired and have a sense of spring fever. But this May is unique – we’re experiencing all of the restlessness without many feelings of joy or celebration.
So, what do we need right now? What can we do with all of that collective sadness or angst?
Pretend it’s not there?
Gloss over it with “we’ll be ok?”
Encourage people to focus on the goodness?
Watch videos of people coming together?
I say, what we need most right now is acknowledgment. Yep. Embrace the suckiness and sadness and overwhelm and angst. Let yourself sit there for a bit. Sit there with your kids, your partner, your co-worker. Let them cry. Let them vent. Let your kindergartener mourn his/her teacher and let your senior sit in his/her cap and gown and sob. Take pictures of the prom dress and throw the baseball that won’t see a game. Be angry for something you never anticipated or signed up for….
After you’ve done that, after you’ve let yourself sit with your or someone else’s pain only then can we move forward. Pain requires acknowledgment. Before we can find purpose and meaning or celebration or “good” we must acknowledge pain. Acknowledgment heals.
That’s it, my friends. I’m here for you.
P.S. If you’d like some way to find purpose later this week, after you dust yourself off, I’d love for you to join me in toasting teachers this Friday for a virtual Happy Hour. What is a virtual happy hour for teachers? It’s a time to come together as a community of educators and have fun together! It’s socially connected (but physically distant!) way to laugh, inspire, and connect. We’ll share teacher stories, play some fun games (think COVID-teacher bingo inspired by google classroom sightings!), and take some time to hear what Dr. Amy has to say about rejuvenation and well-being for teachers during this time. There will be surprises, teacher gifts, and a little dancing; but MOST OF ALL – COMMUNITY AND CONNECTION!