Teachers, at this point, you probably don’t have a lot of time for extra stuff. Oftentimes, things you don’t need creep into your day without you really even noticing. Sometimes, they even disguise themselves as essential.
Autumn is the perfect time to let things that no longer serve you go. By letting the extra stuff go (and yes, there is plenty of extra stuff!), you create more space – physically and emotionally. It’s not just about stuff. You can let go of tasks, relationships, behaviors, and even beliefs. Use these 3 easy steps to help you release what is no longer needed or possibly even wanted.
Watch the video (which I have really tried to make fun and entertaining), but if you prefer to read instead, the transcript is below.
Hey there, teacher friends. It is autumn. The season has changed and at least in my neck of the woods, the trees are already losing their leaves, which makes me want to ask the question, what could we all lose from our lives that would make our lives better, that would give us some space? I’m Rachel Lynette, you may know me from Minds in Bloom, from Teachers Pay Teachers or from Teach YourSelf Care. I bet your life is full of stuff. Kind of like a big tree at the end of summer with all those leaves. And some of that stuff has got to go. So what could you consider releasing from your life? Well, I’ve got a whole list.
First of all, the stuff that’s all around us. Things. There are probably things in your life, at home, and in your classroom that could find another home. Maybe that home is Goodwill. Maybe that home is another teacher friend. Maybe that home is the garbage. But I bet you have a lot. How many pieces of clothing are in your closet right now that you have not worn in over a year? Those could go. How many teaching materials have you kept around because you might need them someday, but someday hasn’t happened in five years and you’re just keeping that stuff, and meanwhile, it’s getting old and outdated?
In addition to stuff, you can also get rid of tasks because you have so many tasks at school and at home. How many could you get rid of? Do you have to correct every single paper? Could you let go of some of the extra things you do that don’t actually move the needle forward on academics or even on social, emotional learning? Could you get rid of some of those tasks?
Another category of things that you can release are people. Are there some toxic people in your world that maybe you just don’t want to have a relationship with, or people that just aren’t really making you feel like you’re becoming your best self? Can you just cut them out of your life? Or could you minimize contact with them? Maybe you don’t need to meet with that difficult parent every time she requests a meeting. Maybe you could take a different path to your classroom so that you avoid that teacher that always wants to tell you all of her problems for your entire planning period.
Another place to think about is your own habits and behaviors. Are there things that you do that are not benefiting you? Maybe you are staying up too late and you could get rid of that after 10:00 TV, or maybe you don’t like the way that you have been talking with your children lately or your students, that your voice has just taken on an edge because you’re stressed out and who wouldn’t be? These are difficult times to teach. But maybe you could take the edge out of your voice. Maybe you need to save some money. And that morning latte at Starbucks has got to go.
And finally, you can work on your own beliefs about things and you can get rid of them, beliefs that don’t serve you. Maybe you believe that you have to do A, B, C, D, E, and F to be a good teacher. But you could change that belief because maybe you could be a good teacher just by doing A, B and C. Maybe you have a belief that says that you can never say no when a teammate asks you to do something. So there are a lot of things that you can let go of. And I have three suggestions for how to do that.
First of all, as is always so helpful, make the big list, make the giant list of everything and anything in any of those categories that you think you would benefit by getting rid of. And then of course, you’re going to cull your list because you can’t do it all. And what you want to go for are two categories of things.
First of all, the low hanging fruit. Things that are super easy, maybe it just takes an email, maybe it’s just something you can just stop doing, it’s easy, it’s not a big deal and it will make your life better.
And the second thing is the thing that will have the most impact. What’s the thing that you hate doing the most? Or that thing in your house that just irritates you every time you see it? Do you really need it? Get rid of those things that make the most impact.
So now you’ve made your list, you’ve culled it down and you have maybe three to five things. Really, you don’t want to do more than that. Now the second thing to do is to make a plan of attack. How, and when are you going to do these things? You don’t have to do them all at once, and you don’t have to do each one cold turkey. Some things it makes sense, it makes sense just to stop, but other things you might want to do more gradually. Our brain really likes gradual changes, things that you hardly even notice. And since the season is three months long, you’ve got three months in front of you. So what in your life might you want to do gradually? Plan when you’re going to do it, put it on the calendar.
Finally, think about your mindset about what you are releasing. Mindset makes such a big difference. Now, maybe it is a big thing. It truly is a big thing like letting go of a human. I mean, maybe you’ve got a toxic relationship with somebody in your family and you’ve decided enough. Or maybe somebody has broken a relationship off with you for one reason or another. When you give up people, that’s a big deal and you’re going to need to give yourself time to grieve that loss and to process it. But there’s other things that really aren’t big deal and we make them into such a big deal and it just isn’t.
For example, maybe you really do need to give up that Starbucks latte in the morning. It’s not good for you, there’s better ways to spend money and time because it’s a good 10 minutes in the Starbucks line. So you can tell yourself, oh my gosh, I don’t know what I’m going to do without my latte. It’s the best part of my morning. I’m going to be dragging all morning. I don’t want regular coffee. I just don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. Or you can just say this is a choice I’m making for our finances and for my health, and be done with it. It doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Another example might be say, you’re going to clean out your closet. I’m going to be cleaning out my closet. I have so many things that I have not worn in over a year. And I have other things, sweatshirts, that I have way too many of because of COVID and they need to go. Now I could make this into a really big deal. Oh my gosh, it’s going to take the whole day. I can’t believe I have to do this. Some of these things are really hard to get rid of, or I could just do it. I could put on some music. I could hold up each thing, decide if it brings me joy and then toss it aside. It doesn’t have to be a big deal.
One little bonus tip about stuff, when you’re getting rid of stuff is it does require you to have a certain degree of honesty about what you really will wear, what you’ll really use, will really do that puzzle? Will you really finish that Afghan? Will you really read that book? Are you really ever going to get into that dress you wore in high school? It does require a certain amount of honesty so do be honest with yourself and make those choices. But make them without a lot of drama.
And finally, and this is kind of a bonus one, celebrate. Celebrate your clean closet, celebrate your extra time because you’re not bringing home more, celebrate the extra money that you’ve saved. Whatever you have done, whatever you’ve released, the space that you have created. Celebrate that accomplishment. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes of your super valuable time with me. Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch another video.
And as always, go out there and be the amazing teacher that you are and be kind to yourself
If you thought this post was worth your time, you could help this sprouting blog and earn my eternal thanks by:
- Sharing this post on social media.
- Leaving a comment.
- Subscribing to the Teach YourSelf Care email at the top of this page so you’ll never miss a post.
Thanks so much for stopping by!