7 Steps to KISS the Spring (Reclaim balance when your life is crazy)

With a child recently in the hospital with pneumonia, an ear problem that won't go away, six classes and only one planning period, Flat Classroom projects in full swing, and so many more things that I would  hear the “Waaaa-mbulance” crank up down the street for all the whining, life right now for me is a tad overwhelming.

When I asked teachers on my Facebook page about their problems right now, here were a few:

Jenny Gilbert just managing the work/life balance :) 

Cheryl Higginbotham Surviving the last weeks of school with so much testing left, students missing due to field trips, and just those “I can't wait for summer” anxious feelings….

So, when I talked to my sister, former teacher and gator-farmer extraordinaire, here was her advice to me as I said, “Susan, how can I write and help teachers when I have too much to do. I am quite overwhelmed.”

She said:

“Sometimes when you're in the pit, that is when you can be most helpful. You can identify with others in the pit and maybe help them. You're not some fake in a quiet office, you have six classes and can barely make it from one moment to the next.”

Keep it Simple Sistah, Pep Talk

Her advice to me was “Keep it Simple, Sister.” (KISS) and these points.

  • Love your babies. 
  • Look at the pretty flowers. 
  • Put one foot in front of the other. Don't get too far ahead of yourself and think about what is due next week or next month, look at what you have to get done TODAY and do it. 
  • My Granny always said “sometimes you've got to let the rough end drag” and “when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” To me, this means that I may have an image of some perfect Mom with meatloaf and mashed potatoes on the table every night for dinner and an apple pie a la mode for desert, but right now, a frozen lasagna and breadsticks has to do.

7 Steps to KISS the Spring

Do these steps now to clear your head and get something out of today. Do this every day until we're done:
  1. Review your calendar. Schedule your day – put appointments on your calendar and review what you need to do.
  2. Write down your “Granny 4.” Make a master list of what you have to do and keep it somewhere but pull out your 4 items you HAVE To do today. (I call them my “Granny 4” – my Granny did more with her life by always having 4 things a day she had to do – she made the list and did them every day. If my Granny can do 4, I can too. (You can call them your fantastic 4 if that is more motivational!)
  3. 2 (r 3) Simple Routines. Have a simple morning and evening routine of just 4-5 things that you do to keep things going (check bookbags, pack lunches, tidy the den) You can add a simple routine for school too. (I use a Homeroutines) — I strongly suggest no more than 3 things in each routine or you'll be overwhelmed. 
  4. Cut yourself some slack. If you can do something an easier way and still do it (frozen dinner instead of  2 hours in the kitchen, paper plates instead of having to do dishes) – DO IT. Give yourself a “no guilt” card and stop trying to measure up to some ridiculous febreeze commercial where the woman has a clean house and sprays the freshener and has a lovely, perfect home. Shoes may be by the door, but laughter is in the heart.
  5. Have relationships. IF you scream all the time, that kind of defeats the point of having a home. Relax and do your best and that is enough.
  6. Stay centered. Each morning, I get up and have my quiet time from 5-6 am. My God is my life and my life stays centered when I take that time. Some days I don't have time and just read a 5 minute devotional. That is OK too.
  7. Look at something beautiful every day. Keep a flower on your kitchen table. Not a fancy arrangement, just one flower. Go cut one and put it in the center and look at it. When it dies, throw it out and grab another.
Photo credit: Bigstock

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere