On Stress.

Before you read the rest of this post, you need to understand that I am fine. Really, I am.

Except for a teeny tiny minor issue called “stress and exhaustion.”

This teeny tiny issue sent me to the ER on Thursday, as I as on Day 4 of fighting dizziness, and then my heart decided to cop a bit of an attitude with me. So to the ER I went (have you ever been to ER and said “dizzy” and “heart” in the same sentence? Fastest service ever.).

And after a battery of tests to rule out all kinds of problems I didn’t know were possibilities (I could have lived without hearing “We’re going to do a CT scan to rule out a stroke since you’ve had a brain injury), it came down to stress and exhaustion.

Which, on one hand, made me angry that I went to the ER for something so stupid. But on the other hand, it got me thinking about the teaching lifestyle.

One of my friends and colleagues, when I told her that I didn’t really feel stressed, noted that as teachers, we likely don’t realize we feel stressed because it is a constant state of affairs. The expectations are crushing at times–grading, planning, collaborating, not to mention the pressure to individualize every lesson for all 125 of my students. And I’m a people-pleaser, so I probably place unreasonable expectations on myself, because I don’t want to let anyone down.

So my question is: am I the only one who does this? The only one who can’t even tell when she’s stressed anymore because it’s the status quo? The only one who has to force herself to not work** this weekend in order to rest and heal?

And if I am the only one, will you please tell me how to find a better balance? Thanks much.

**I’m not counting the practice AP test my friend and I ran Saturday morning, or the few newspaper stories I read. Baby steps.**

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