Lighten Up: Overcoming the November Blues

When pitched this topic, I didn’t realize how much I’d need to write this post not just for all of you, but for myself.  It’s been a tough few weeks for me personally and professionally (not to mention, for me, politically!). There’s been a lot of stressful news at home and at school, my workload’s piling up, students are increasingly restless, I caught a cold, and I’m desperately in need of the upcoming breaks to come as soon as they possibly can. It’s getting harder and harder to push through the emotional resistance I’m feeling to get important and fulfilling work done.

Suffice to say, it’s been a little darker than usual, and not just because Daylight Saving Time took all the evening light away, with the morning light soon to follow.

October and November are notoriously hard months for teachers (especially new ones) and their students. The school year isn’t so shiny and new, pressure mounted for teachers and students alike as there were lots of projects and grading due around the end of the first grading period, the weather and light changes, and the incoming holiday season, while it comes with some welcome time off, it can be stressful too.

When I’m struggling the most to get motivated and get over challenges, here are a few things that usually start to work to help me bring back the light.

  • Create a positivity file and read from it daily. Be sure to include…
    1. Quotes and wisdom (mine are usually from my favorite books!)
    2. Praise and positive feedback you’ve gotten
    3. Pictures and memes that make you smile
  • Bring some unexpected joy into the library. Consider one of the following low-energy, high delight displays or programs:
    1. Coloring pages and markers on tables for students to use.
    2. 10 minute dance/ music break
    3. Display of joke and humor books. Be sure to read a few pages yourself!
  • Encourage others.
    1. send thank you notes
    2. gather some treats for your colleagues
  • Take it easy on yourself throughout the day
    1. Take more short breaks if you need them
    2. Stash your desk with comforting (but reasonably healthy if that’s what you need right now) drinks and snacks.
    3. Be sure to stop and have adult conversation throughout the day and not just about students or curriculum.

Now, to muster the energy to make these things happen! Who’s with me?!?

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