Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Now, don’t get too scared by my blog post title. I’m not going to go too deep; rather, I’m going to share some things that have greatly improved my mental health over the last few months. And, don’t think I have this “mental health” thing down. I most certainly do not. I don’t always do the things that I know would make me mentally healthy.

-I have limited my news intake. Now, I’m not saying that I bury my head in the sand. I read the news rather than watch it or talk to my husband for updates. He takes in so much news and I have told him that I think it is deeply affecting him. Yes, it’s good to be aware, but you also need to protect yourself and know yourself and what you are sensitive about. Tom seems like a stoic person on the outside, but he is sensitive on the inside.

-I have been trying to walk Ernie with Tom before dinner, instead of continuing to prepare dinner like I did in the past. This gives me an extra few steps and I think Tom really likes debriefing his day with me like this. I have found that getting outside one more time is really good for me. I try to have dinner plated and then we just warm it up. Bonus points for me if I already have the dinner pots and pans washed, too.

-I have really stopped checking work email at home. I just check it one last time at work before leaving after school and then I wait until I arrive the next morning. I used to check work email on my phone before getting out of bed. Why? Nothing is urgent in my line of work.

-My principal sends a video of him talking about the week ahead with a power point at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. This video is anywhere from 8-15 minutes long. He even says “Happy Sunday!” like he expects us to watch it right then. I now watch it on Monday morning. I just change it to “Happy Monday” in my head and all is good. I have heard from many colleagues that they don’t watch it at all. I’m too much of a rule follower to go that far, plus I do want to be informed! Many of my colleagues say they just wish he would put the video content in an email form because watching a video seems “extra”.

-Making lists – sometimes just getting something out of my brain and on paper really helps.

-Getting outside! I think we all know how good this is. I even had the chance last week to sit in a chair in the grass by the river and take my shoes off and touch the ground with my bare feet. This is supposed to be really good for you. It can’t hurt, unless you put your foot on a nail or dog doo doo.

-Exercising! Yes, it really does help. Tom is so cranky when he doesn’t exercise. He goes to the gym 6-7 days a week on top of lots of walking with Ernie and bike riding when it gets warmer. He also paddleboards on the river. I will never be on that level, but I love starting my day with a workout now and it really does positively affect my mood all day.

-I am outsourcing or not doing some things that stress me out. I love strolling through a grocery store leisurely to see what new products are out and to get inspiration for meals, but right now I don’t have that kind of time. I use my Kroger app to order the following week’s groceries on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings these days and then do my pick up immediately after school on Wednesday or Thursday. I feel like I have given myself the gift of time back on the weekends. It feels great to be fully stocked! If I forget something, running in to get a couple of items seems easy.

-I make it a point to either see or talk on the phone and to hear a voice of at least one friend a week.

-I treat myself with love and kindness. I give myself the good smells that I enjoy, the fabrics that feel good, the hot drinks I enjoy, the rest I need, etc. You must treat yourself well.

-I do less. Erica had maybe 5 errands to run after school one day. I made the comment that she was doing more in one day than I do in a week. Sometimes you just can’t do less, but by being organized and planning ahead you can often “bundle” your errands or make do with things you already have. I think this is especially important right now with high gas prices. I go to the library and Trader Joe’s at the same time because they are close, for example.

-I try to laugh everyday. I’m lucky that my job provides lots of laughs. I can also be assured of laughter when I listen to my favorite podcast Watch What Crappens. The hosts recap and make fun of shows on Bravo.

-I stopped wearing a mask to school! I have noticed in the almost 3 weeks without the mask mandate that more and more kids are feeling comfortable and taking theirs off. I don’t know of any kids who are currently positive and quarantining. We still provide weekly testing for those involved in sports and activities and those that just want to be tested. I still have maybe 1/4 to 1/3 wearing masks in each class.

Quick Story:

I played a silly game on Friday in my Spanish 3 classes. They have never played this game before, but my AP class has played it and loves it.

I divide the class into teams of 4-5 students and each team has a “runner”. I shout out an object in Spanish and the teams have to figure out what that object is and see who on their team has it and the first team to “run” the item to my front table gets a point. I shout things like “paraguas” which means umbrella or “un examen con una nota de U” which means a test with a grade of a U (which means failing).

You also need to know that our students can have lockers, but no one uses them anymore. They carry their worldly posessions in backpacks to 7 classes each day. When I was in high school, we went to our lockers between each class, and only took a notebook and a book to class. Things have changed since the 80s!

There were so many genuine smiles during this game. They laughed and laughed at the crazy things people carry around in their backpacks. I don’t think I caught anyone looking at their phone during the game. It really warmed my heart. I am still thinking about seeing all of those smiling faces. Man, it was good for soul and my mental health!

How are you doing right now with your mental health?

What do you do to stay mentally healthy?


26 thoughts on “Mental Health

  1. This is a great list Amy! I think that video message from your principal on the weekend is insane, teachers work too much and should enjoy their downtime. I think it’s so important to have balance. I love that you are enjoying exercise and fresh air, it makes such a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I bet you have lots more good information! I think it’s insane, too. Teachers take their jobs home with them already, you know? And, we wonder why teachers are leaving the profession in droves. I’m trying but it’s turned so dang cold. I think it’s warming up tomorrow! Have a great day!


  2. I am 100% the same way if I don’t exercise. It used to be a real addiction almost, but I’ve learned to let a little of it go over the years.
    And I get my news exclusively from Twitter or podcasts. The idea of watching the news gives me a headache.


    1. I think you almost have to have a bit of addiction in you to have a good work out routine. I have talked to my sister about this many times.
      Yes, watching the news is not good for me!


  3. My son’s school doesn’t allow any bags to be in the classrooms so he tends to carry his Chromebook, pencils, and notebooks with him but rarely has classes near his locker. It’s a huge change for him since last year the school never even issued lockers and they HAD to carry everything all day. He really struggled with his lock the first few weeks! I think my mental health is often pretty good because we spend so much time outside and with friends and family. I constantly check in with my boys to see how their stress level is too and I’m always amazed at how adaptable they are! They must get that from my husband because it has taken me YEARS to learn to let go of the little stresses.


    1. Some schools don’t. That is funny that they changed it. I think we are all trying to figure out how to do school again! That is great about you and your boys. I think my kids are very adaptable, too. Same – I have always had trouble with the little stressors in life.


  4. So many great ideas! The game sounds so fun 🙂 why don’t kids use lockers? Lol I used mine all the time in middle and high school 😅 I love that spring provides time to be outside more. A few times over the last couple of weeks I’ve done my best to have dinner ready at 5:30 after I pick the kids up from track. It’s helped to have dinner over by 6! I say, “kitchen is closed” 🤣 thanks for sharing all these ideas.


    1. Thank you! I don’t know – it’s the weirdest thing. I think we forgot all the normal school stuff. But, I will tell you that no one asks to go to their locker anymore and I love it! Ha! That is great to close your kitchen so early! Go Jen!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for your pointers. I’m finding I follow a lot of what you do. I learned sometime ago that starting my day being thankful and grateful to God for another day of life, jump started the day on the right path. I limit my time to listening to what is provided by the new media according to them. I do “house chores” daily which allows my weekend to be free. Once you have a routine, its not bad at all.


    1. Aww, thank you Ruth. I am a work in progress. I love starting the day that way. We must also limit our intake of bad stuff just as we do foods. I need a better routine! I think it’s hard because my summer life is different from my school year life. I get a good routine in the summer only to be messed up again in August!


  6. I would love to hear how you got started on the weight loss journey and what made you stick with it. My weight is what really depresses me and gets me down. Since I turned 50 it has just gone up every year to where I am unhealthy and need to do something. I have been on Weight Watchers, calorie counting, changing one meal at a time etc. but I just can’t get myself to eat correctly. I feel overwhelmed with all the cooking and planning. Would love any tips to just get started. I am also a teacher.


    1. I really, really can relate. That was me a year ago. I can’t say enough about WW. I love the app and it really isn’t that hard once you learn how it works. I also try to have the mindset where I think about all the wonderful things I CAN eat and not what I shouldn’t eat that much of.
      I think my biggest motivator was my health. I was also tired of feeling bad. I was having bad back spasms. I was depressed.
      You will actually find it easy when you have to pack a lunch anyway. I pack my breakfast and my lunch and a snack if I have a meeting. Start small with a couple of recipes. I eat the same thing for breakfast everyday and I could eat the same thing for lunch several times if I had to. Go to my search bar and type in eating lately for ideas and I will do another post again soon. My one year anniversary of starting my health journey is next week. I never thought I could do this. You can do it!


  7. I have stopped listening and watching the news. I will glance at our local newspaper online but its all the same crap! I like to head to the beach house! The ocean and the sand and the beautiful sunsets just calm me so much. I also love having trips planned. It is something to look forward to. That is so good in my world!


  8. Love that post and love that game! Problem is that my students are so good at English… I need to find some really hard things… Fun idea! I did a version of this game when we had home schooling and it was so much fun! I played this crazy music while they were running round their house trying to find stuff – funny!
    I love all your ideas and I say yes, yes, yes to all of them! Especially no e-mails after school time!


    1. Thank you! I did think about playing it virtually but I never did. We had to be super sensitive about their home life and not commenting on their surroundings.
      I failed at some of my own rules this week. Oh well!


  9. Love these tips! The news one is me for sure. I had to turn off the Apple News widget because I was just obsessively checking it and doomscrolling, and I do not miss it at all! I also realized how bad some social media was for my anxiety (Twitter for some reason really sets me off–and I don’t even post!), and have been much better about blocking it or just not going on it. I seem to have finally internalized that it’s just not worth the anxiety!


    1. Thank you, Jess! So good on you that you knew it wasn’t good for you and made a change. I think we sometimes don’t do the things we need to do! I simply delete my apps, but still have the account sometimes.


  10. I love this. I agree with what you said. Many of these things have helped me with my mental health as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s