This post comes at a very appropriate time. Just as a heads up, I am stressed.
Now how does one encounter stress as a preschool teacher? Not how you’d think. The kids aren’t driving me crazy, they’ve actually been pretty good. The problem is that several staff members are home sick, including my coworker, which means I have more work to do but less time to do it in. Tomorrow afternoon we are hosting an afternoon tea for the children’s grandparents, cards and presents included, after which I will head downtown for the culminating presentations and tweet-up of the course I have been taking with the U of T School of Continuing Studies. Long story short – lots of work, not so much time.
I figured I could at least channel all of my stressful energy into a blog post.
I read this article by Arianna Huffington, which was posted on LinkedIn, entitled “Millenials Come of Age as America’s Most Stressed Generation.” It made me feel a bit better, to know I’m not alone.
One point resonated with me in particular. The article cites Tony Schwartz (author and CEO of The Energy Project) when he describes the dominant work ethic today, “downtime is typically viewed as time wasted.” In the same paragraph, Huffington tells us that 1/3 of Americans eat lunch at their desk. Which means we feel the pressure to perform is so great, we can’t even take 20 minutes away from our desks to eat our lunch.
I looked back to the time I spent as the Administrative Assistant at the daycare, prior to moving into a classroom, and I remember doing exactly that. I felt the need to work as hard as I could for every minute of the day I was there. I would barely stop to go to the bathroom. But why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. No one ever told me not to take a lunch break, I just wouldn’t.
Where did this ridiculously overblown sense of intensity and urgency come from? While I usually believe those to be very positive attributes, one can over-adopt them, to a fault.
It’s important to slow down sometimes, and to take a break. I find I need to remind myself this when the days are busy and my co-worker is away. It’s probably not the end of the world if I don’t manage to cut out seals, penguins, polar bears, AND wolves for the children’s arctic collages. They can probably make do with one or two animals each. I hope.
This may or may not describe how I am feeling right now… but hoping not the ‘sickness-prone’ part. Germs spread around the daycare faster than gossip in a middle school.