Honestly? It’s been about a year since I was actively engaged in a daily fitness routine. Being a new teacher was a challenge greater than anything I had faced before. I really had no idea what I was getting into. All of my personal habits and rhythms were tested. My social life became as skimpy as Miley Cyrus’ stage costumes as I watched my “free time” be sucked into the bottomless vacuum that is first-year teaching. When you first join teaching, you have this (somewhat) false sense of heroism. You think you can be the one to change things, to really make a difference in children’s lives, and the future. You quickly discover, however, that teaching is not the glorious, widely validating job that you first assumed. It’s full of paperwork, meetings, emails from parents, late nights planning, and glitter stuck to your forehead.
During my first year of teaching, working out was the last thing on my mind. I felt lucky if I made it to the shower any given day! My health suffered, and so did my nutrition; my stress levels were harrowing and my energy levels were at an all-time low. I was too tired to write. Too tired to open a journal. Too tired to write a grocery list. I lost it. Everything I loved, everything that made me ME.
Now, in my second year of teaching, I’ve realized I’d have to let go of some of the unrealistic expectations I’d held onto. I’ve been able to slowly build a better work-life balance; I’ve been making small changes, and feel more like myself again.
I’ve been lucky that I like to eat healthy and I think that’s been my saving grace through such tumult. Otherwise, I’d probably be larger than Target’s current liquidation sales in Canada.
Yesterday, I broke the curse and trudged to my local SnapFitness gym. I lunged, I squatted, I sweated, I panted. It was painful and magnificent all the same time. Admittedly, my cardio was so poor I could feel that acid burn creeping up in my stomach; I had to be careful to keep lunch where it belonged!
The best part of it though, was that I had almost forgotten how therapeutic exercise can be. Afterward I had a nice long stretch: my whole body felt calm, my mind finally still. When I got home I even had energy to whip up a healthy dinner! My dog, Havarti, is of course very encouraging of my life changes. She wanted to show me that she supported my new active lifestyle. To show her support, she bounced around the living room twice, chased her shadow down the hall…
…and promptly passed out in my arms.