Mary Dagani | July 2017

Finding Your Balance

Summer is here!  Time for a little R&R after a long hard year.  Teachers work hard – there’s no doubt about that!  But if you are anything like me, you think about relaxing for a second or two, then you’re off again taking care of the things you couldn’t get done while you were in session and trying to squeeze in as many errands as you can into your free-time;  Doctors appointments, dental cleanings, gardening, luncheons, oil changes, etc, etc, etc… you get the picture.  Why do we load up our free time with more stuff to do?  Why do we do that to ourselves?  We deserve to enjoy our breaks now and again.

I’m asking for your help.  I need you to make a commitment here, one that will be good for the both of us.  So, let’s spit-shake and pinky-swear that we will support each other this summer and take time to look out for our own well being and bring some balance into our lives.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

We all remember the moral from the tale of the tortoise and the hare: “Slow and steady wins the race.”  Close your eyes and imagine how that would that look in your world.  For me, it might look like some quiet time for meditation, or maybe a long leisurely hike listening to my favorite songs or focusing on the sounds of nature.  What can you do for a few hours every week to slow yourself down?

How about some exercise?  Do you think we could find a few hours a week to get up and move?  Of course we can!   Research has shown that incorporating a simple exercise regimen into our daily routine can improve more than your physical body.  It has a positive effect on your brain function as well.  And goodness knows we all could use a good dose of healthy brain function every now and again, right?!

And let’s not forget our diet.  Remember all of those stressful days when all you wanted was a sugary “pick me up” drink on your drive home?  Or what about the 5 pound box of assorted chocolates that a well-meaning parent dropped off in the lounge on Teacher Appreciation Day that you swore was calling your name?  Stop!  It’s time to get that out of our systems and dedicate ourselves to healthier more nutrient rich foods.  By shopping for whole, natural, non-processed foods, and limiting our eating out, we can bring ourselves one step closer to a healthier body and keep the extra padding where it belongs over the summer – in our wallets.

There’s an App for That

This is all very exciting right now, but what happens about a week from now when we let our guard down at the local coffee shop, or the kids want to order a large pizza with everything on it?  Well, there’s help for us after all, my friends – there is an app for that!  You can try looking here and here for one you like.  It is a proven fact, that we are more likely to stick to a newly formed habit when you write it down or track your progress.  Many new fitness apps provide for motivational opportunities by encouraging friendly competitions.

I joined my sisters and their families on a recent challenge.  It was all fun and games until I realized most of them were retired and spent their days walking the dog or working in the garden.  (No, I won’t be doing that again for a while.)  However, this app looked really interesting to me.  Think about it, if you could get your exercise AND save the world from a zombie invasion, it would be well worth the effort, don’t you think?

It’s a Date! Balance Achieved.

In addition to taking care of your physical health, let’s not forget about the creative/emotional side.  How about making a date with yourself at least once a week to do something you absolutely love?  Whether it’s reading on the beach, watching a movie all snuggled up next to loved ones, or creating a work of art, make a date to get it done – make some great memories this summer.  And, oh yes, don’t just pencil this one in on your calendar, use one of those big, thick permanent pens, and don’t let ANYBODY talk you out of it.

OK, so why am I telling you this?  Perhaps it is because I need to hear it too.  I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to not taking care of myself.  I need to give myself permission to slow down and smell the roses.  So, I’m hoping you will join me.  I’m asking you – no, begging you, to set some time aside this summer for yourself… I will be checking in with you again in September to see how you did.  I can’t wait to hear your stories!  In the meantime, I’m off to save my city from the zombie invasion…

About the Author

Mary is a STEAM TOSA, Project Lead the Way Launch Lead Teacher, and an Orff Schulwerk music specialist. Her eclectic background, along with her 28 years of elementary classroom teaching, gives her a unique perspective on Arts Integration.