Sep 18, 2017

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety in Teaching

Happy Monday, y'all! Today's post is a little different than normal. If you've followed me for awhile on Instagram, you may have noticed that here lately I have been posting a lot more pictures that actually have me in them. There's a reason for this and it deals with stress and anxiety. Since I have gotten a few questions about this through my teaching page, I decided to write a blog post about it here because the two go hand in hand.


I have been a teacher for 9 years now (wow!) and while there have been mannnny days where I go home and reflect on the day with a smile on my face and a feeling of accomplishment, there have also been SO MANY DAYS where I just go home so tired, defeated, frustrated, and confused. 

Teaching is so hard. I know every profession has it tough times, but I can safely say I didn't understand what stress was until my first year of teaching. Even nine years later, I sometimes feel like I have no clue what I'm doing. Every year is different. Every class is different. Every kid is different. And because every year is different, I feel like I need to change and adapt my teaching to best fit my current group of kids. What works for one group might not work for another. And yes, eventually we find our groove and a routine is developed for the year, but those first couple of months of every new school year are rough. (Teacher friends, please tell me I'm not alone in thinking this! Or maybe I just make everything ten times more complicated than it has to be!)  I have been so blessed  to teach the most amazing kids and I want to present them with the best opportunity to learn. That's a huge responsibility! Teacher friends, doesn't that just overwhelm you sometimes?!

Plain and simple. Teaching is hard. It is often times fun and rewarding and I love it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's hard. 

And somewhere in my 9 years of teaching, I let it get to me. 

I started having issues with stress and anxiety. I used to hate the word "stress" because I didn't think it was a real thing, but boy was I wrong. I used to be pretty laid back, but somewhere between my first year of teaching and now, I became the direct opposite of laid back. And I know that everyone deals with this in their job, but I didn't realize how awful I was dealing with it and how much I had let it get to me. I would work all day and then come home to start working on my teaching blog and creating teacher resources. I started worrying about not being able to get everything done that needed to be done and if I had to let something go because there wasn't enough time, I just couldn't let it go in my mind. I would constantly have to say to myself: it's okay that the tubs aren't labeled with a matching label or it's okay that I didn't finish a resource that I really needed to upload by tonight or it's okay that the books aren't labeled by genre and then organized by author." And I could tell myself all day long that these little things didn't matter and it wouldn't affect my teaching, but it still stressed me out. 

Okay, so what does all this have to do with the sudden increase in "me pictures" on my Instagram? Throughout this realization that I was letting my job get to me, I started to notice that it was affecting my appearance/health. I am stress eater, so I was gaining weight, something I have worried about my entire life. I was focusing so much on teaching and maintaining my teaching blog that I wasn't putting forth any effort in my appearance. And because of this, I developed a MAJOR issue with my self confidence. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I dressed. I didn't want to think about it. 

So I didn't. When I look back at pictures on my computer, there is a noticeable gap in pictures that I'm actually in from 2015 to the beginning of this year. Almost all of the pictures from this two year span are of my classroom, my house, my dog, and my teaching resources that I create. I'm in almost nothing. I had three closets full of clothes that I would buy that were too small because I didn't want to buy what size I really needed. I would just tell myself that I would buy it as motivation to get into it. And then it would sit in my closet with the tags on forever. I bought three pairs of the same black stretch pants from Old Navy and I wore those almost every day with a variety of oversized v-neck sweaters that didn't cling to me at all so I could basically hide in them. My cousin had her sweet 16 birthday party at my house and there is not one picture of the two of us. I have no pictures of myself and my grandparents at this time. I have no pictures of myself and friends at this time. Every year I take a first day of school picture with my class. There is not one picture of myself and my kids from this two year span. I simply hid. 

When I realized this, I could not believe it. Don't get me wrong,  I love taking "object pictures". I absolutely love looking back at pictures, but for the last two years, there's so many pictures of objects that I can look at and think: I remember feeling so bad about how I looked when I took that.

So, I decided to change.


At the beginning of February I decided to start trying to watch what I ate and become a little more active in my daily life. I will never be one of those people who enjoys working out, but I try to take a walk everyday. Or every other day. Or once a week. It's a work in progress. :)

I decided that I might not be what size I wanted to be, but I could dress for the size I was. So I went shopping and bought clothes that actually fit. This part was SO HARD. I absolutely hated the sizes I had to buy, but I knew if I kept wearing the same pair of black stretch pants and the same v-neck sweater, I would never stay motivated. 

I started documenting what I wore each day so I would be motivated to not hide in clothing anymore. I didn't realize at the time, but this helped me get so much more out of my closet. Because I wanted to put together a new outfit to take a picture of, I was finding more stuff in my closet that I could pair with other stuff. I know this is just a silly little thing, but I cannot tell you how much this helped. I have always LOVED fashion and that was the very thing I lost when I let stress and anxiety get to me.

I still struggle with self confidence, but I have found taking pictures with me actually in them helps. I try my best not to find every little thing that is wrong with them (my legs look big in this one, my face is so puffy in that one, my hair looks awful here, etc.), but I know I don't want to be in the same place I was two years ago. I want to remember what is going on in my life right now and I don't want to look back on a picture and think about how awful I felt in it. I want to experience life and document it.

Stress and work anxiety is a part of life that almost everyone struggles with, but I'm making a conscious effort to not let it get the best of me. Some days are harder than others, but sharing with y'all on Instagram helps! We teachers (and fashion friends!)  must stick together, right?! :)

If you're interested in my past teacher fashion posts, click here to find links to all of them. 




9 comments:

  1. I love this blog post so much. I'm on the struggle bus with balancing teaching and my life. It's a work in progress but Im going to hang in there. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Wow, I needed to read this. I'm struggling major the last two weeks with making the good food choices. You are amazing!!

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  3. Thanks so much for your honesty! I'm right there with ya!

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  4. This is exactly the post I needed to read right now. I am going through the same thing and started taking more "me" pictures as well. I feel people at first were like well aren't you into yourself, but I found it hard to explain and you did it perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing and now I feel I can explain it in my words too!

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  5. Girl! I am currently on the struggle bus.... I'm so tired, my body aches and I'm at my highest weight ever. Last spring I found out I have moderate depression and anxiety. Which made total sense. I was irritable, gaining weight and was thinking about leaving teaching, even thought I currently have my dream job! It's so hard! I definitely agree with you! I work so hard at school, work late hours and come in early- only to let myself go. I never get my hair or nails done, never buy clothes unless I need some that fit. Ive been wanting to work out recently and think I'm going to get a gym membership and make it a priority after school. I'm seriously scared that I could die young if I don't fix my health now! Thank you for sharing bc it's so nice to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. You look great by the way! 💗

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  6. Thank you for being so open and sharing this. I feel like I'm in the same boat with you. I wear loose clothes because that way I don't have to admit that I have put on a little weight. Thank you for sharing all of your outfits - I always love them! You have a great eye for style that I wish I had! Thank you again!

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. You are certainly an inspiration to me whether you really know it or not! Yes, as a teacher friend I can validate your feelings of stress and anxiety and I can also share in common the weight gain. However, each time I look at your blog I'm reminded of how great of a teacher you must be and how much better I need to push myself to be. I've also noticed the same thing about fashion. I'm not typically that girl, the one that always wants to dress the part, but I am eying harder to take more pride in myself and like you, I'm tying to bite the bullet and buy the sizes that I fit in now...not the ones I used to and wish I still could. Thanks for being open and honest in your blog and keep pushing...you have people backing you whether you know it or not!

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  8. Wow! This is a great post. Thanks for being brave enough to share with all of us.

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  9. You look fabulous! In my 3 years of teaching you have been a big inspiration to me. Thank you for your honestly and helpfulness in all you do. I love our Snapchat/IG convos on good books :)

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