As an educator, my "year" is still defined as July/August through June. When my new year started just two weeks ago, I resolved to listen to my own advice (that which I so freely give unsolicited to colleagues) and prioritize my well-being. Every year as I watch teachers, counselors, and administrators work themselves to exhaustion, I always chime in with: "You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself."
Yet, I ended last year with little left to give and watched many teachers at my school and others around the globe crawl to the finish line. Reflecting on that throughout the June/July break, I walked onto campus this year with the resolve to renew my commitment to my own sense of balance.
It was ironic then that the first faculty meeting was scheduled to meet outdoors on the high school track at 7:45am. . . in freezing temperatures (it's winter in South America)! So despite the intense pull to let my mind drift towards visions of woolen mittened hands encircling a steaming latte while toasting my toes by a wood burning fireplace, I reminded myself that I had made a commitment to be purposefully positive. So on the frosted track with 200+ colleagues wandering and wondering, I (and we) gave ourselves over to a walking guided meditation practice.
The conclusion of that practice was that we were asked to create a simple mantra to guide our year. . . how timely that I already had mine: PURPOSEFULLY POSITIVE!
I decided against writing about this initially because, frankly, I didn't know if I would be able to maintain my mantra with the crush of a new year. However, I'm proud to say that into our third week, I'm still going. Multiple times throughout the day I remind myself to be purposefully positive.
I've been supported in maintaining my mantra because I told so many people(!), knowing that they would provide friendly reminders throughout the week. So far, when little frustrations arise, the voice in my head reminds me to look for the positive and remain purposeful in my intention to find balance. . . both work/life balance and balance of expectations in the many fluctuations throughout the day. And, at least once a day, someone asks, "Are you still being positive?" or cheerfully comments, "Amiga, that's SO positive!"
In the coming posts, I'll share more about how my mantra is helping me reframe my approach to work/life balance and, consequently, ensure that I'm taking care of me to meet the many demands on a working mother.
Meanwhile, if you have tips to share please add those in the comments below! Best wishes for a purposefully positive new year.