Do you ever feel like life is a series of juggling performances? Some days the juggling pins stay in the air and you can rest your head at night feeling pretty good; other days, not so much. Those of you that know me know that I am a high school teacher. I teach biology and anatomy/physiology. I love science and I have a wacky sense of humor that seems to bode well with my teenage audience. I am tough on the kids and caring at the same time. I care a lot about their future and their success and I have a lot of lofty goals about their success in my class. Sometimes the pressure I put on myself for their success makes me feel like a circus performer. When I start feeling this way, I remind myself of the many things I have learned over the years to alleviate stress and make life seem less overwhelming.
Don’t sweat it
Worrying has got to be worth at least 3 juggling pins in the air at the exact same time. And fortunately whatever IT is, it is rarely EVER as bad as it seems. Even if it truly is as bad as it seems, worrying about it does nothing but stress you out and raise your cortisol levels. Deal with problems as they come up. Apply the necessary amount of research and reflection to a challenge when it is presented and then move on. Worrying about what “might” happen is wasted mental energy and nothing positive comes from freaking out about a situation. Take a few deep breathes (either figuratively or literally), respond rationally and then LET IT GO.
As life changes and adds more pins to your juggling act, it is almost a no-brainer to give all you’ve got. And occasionally giving all you’ve got to a new challenge or a life-change is exactly what you need to do, as long as it is short-lived. No one can effectively give all they’ve got for long to one aspect of their life; it’s simply not sustainable. Because of that, learn when to say, “No” and/or set limits. It can often be difficult to tell someone “no”, we generally want to please others, even at the cost of ourselves. But, if you say “yes” to everything, ultimately you’ll have to disappoint someone at some point and they’ll be more disappointed than if you never committed to doing the task in the first place. Or, if you somehow manage to do the task, but you’re spread so thin that it’s not your best work, you’ll probably walk away feeling bad about yourself for turning in shoddy work. Thus, telling someone “no” may be the kindest thing you can do for both of you.
You’ve got all your pins in the air, but which ones are dire and which ones can wait for another day? I must admit, I have agenda lists all over my home and work. Every task on the list is prioritized in order of importance. We probably all have far more tasks to do in our lives than we have time to do them in. Prioritize them so at the end of the day, you accomplished what you needed to and can feel good about that.
Don’t be afraid to delegate
Included in my teaching schedule this year are 2 student tutors and a student assistant, whenever I can, I delegate tasks to them. And yes, right now, I am putting in a ridiculous amount of focus and time to ensure they’re doing the work that I delegate to my high expectations, but I know that this time investment now is temporary and will seriously pay off later. Once my students are adequately trained, I will have freed up time to breathe (LOL!) and focus my attention on more important responsibilities.
Most importantly, take care of you
Whatever “take care of you” looks like (hopefully that’s a little time in the gym
and clean eating), you must carve time out for that, just like you do for all your pins in the air. And don’t let yourself feel guilty about time for yourself. If you’re not your at your best, how can you expect to give
anyone your best?
I am sure that some people aspire to be circus performers; I am not one of those people! I utilize these techniques any time I am feeling like I have excess pins in the air. I find that learning to alleviate my stress makes me happier and when I am happy, the people around me are happier too, even if they were the ones that I had to say “no” to. People respect a person who takes care of themselves and doesn’t allow life to get the best of them. I aspire to be one of those people.
is a National level NPC Bikini competitor,fitness model and high school Biology, Anatomy and Physiology teacher. She is a Species 2011 calendar girl, a Team Bombshell Athlete and was featured in December’s issue of Ironman Magazine and NPC Magazine and Lonnie Teper has declared her a ‘rising star’ in Iron Magazine