This is the time of the year that’s the most difficult for me – the happiness of the holiday season is over and I feel like I’ve been thrown back into work without actually getting the rest and relaxation that I’d been so looking forward to. It’s burnout at it’s finest. Plus the weather is gray and dreary, which never helps. This is the month when I have to be truly intentional about finding my purpose in the work that I do so that I can enjoy it. The real question is, how do I do that???
There’s not an exact science to it – I’ve tried a variety of different strategies with varying levels of success – but here are some of the ones that have been the most helpful:
Reflection – this makes such a difference when I’m exploring why things are or aren’t working in the classroom, so it makes perfect sense that it would help me identify what drives me. Basic questions like “what do I love about my job?” And “what makes me feel accomplished?” Can really bring my deeper purpose to light and help me realign myself with the path that I’m on – or direct me to another path.
Creative expression – I’m the kind of person who really finds value in making something out of nothing. Being able to take my reflections and turn them into something tangible that can serve as a physical reminder of why I do what I do is really powerful. In 2021 my goal for the year was to “be a light’ for everyone that I interacted with. That manifested itself in this quilted piece:
Remember – We’re always striving for more, which makes it really hard to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished. Taking time to remember and acknowledge the work that I’m most proud of can be both motivating and inspiring. It helps me to see that not only have I done hard things, but I can do more hard things!
So often, the beginning of a new year has us looking forward. Looking back should be a part of our new year celebrations too! What we’ve experienced in the past has shaped who we are and gotten us here, it’s just as important – especially when it comes to supporting even more joy.