My students were wonderful on the guitar this morning. We rocked out to The Best Day of My Life by American Authors and my kids played it so well. It was a great way to start the day. But, the rest of the morning was stressful. March is busy and can feel like a lot for every music teacher, particularly because it is Music in Our Schools Month. In addition, we are in the middle of creating the concert schedule for the next year figuring out what to do amidst our auditorium renovation in which we will have no access to that space. Great news, just temporarily inconvenient.
Our district is also undergoing a very serious change as two of the five elementary schools are closing. We are in the middle of a large transition for our students, teachers and community members. Our music department feels a big responsibility in helping to create new school identities while honoring school traditions during this year.
Also this morning there was an abundance of challenging emails in my inbox and I could feel the cortisol flowing in my veins. I was feeling overwhelmed and I needed to give myself a moment to recharge. I am pretty self-aware of my stress levels and have lots of techniques I use throughout the day if I need them. Box breathing (see post from 2/8) is helpful. Sometimes a situation calls for some chocolate, and other times going for a walk around the building is necessary. Movement, or any physical change, can change your emotional state, so I try to do this when I can. Even just smiling can do the trick (although sometimes that is challenging too!) If the weather is good I might even go outside for a couple of minutes. Just getting some sun on my skin and breathing in fresh air can turn a 180 on my mood.
Today when I had a free minute I took a walk down the hall and my feet led me downstairs. As I passed the gymnasium I saw the students in the phys. ed class shooting arrows at some targets. YES!!! So I went in (high heels and all) and asked if I could try. I don’t do it often, but I really like archery. And honestly...I’m not that bad! Before I knew it I shot 8, 9, 10 arrows….all on the target I might add...and I felt so much better. The archery unit lasts for two more weeks and I will be sure I make my way down there during my lunch for a few minutes.
Whether you are feeling stressed or not, it is important to take small breaks. Stretch, do some mindful breathing, smile, or go for a walk. These simple things can have huge impact on how you feel the rest of the day. ...and perhaps give you a chance to brush up on some archery skills!