What IS this R-word? This week, for a number of reasons, a ton of stress somehow floated away. I wish that I could take all the credit for this and brag about my awesome ability to manage my stress, but that is not the case. External factors have played a major role in stress reduction, but I'm not complaining!
I also think that last week I finally wrapped my brain around WHY I was gritting my teeth all the time and being a fairly unbearable person to live with. Yes, there was the usual work anxiety which comes at this time of the year with the AP exam looming (I am thankful that I don't work at a truly high-stress job because I would obviously have multiple ulcers). However, home stuff was stressing me out, and, on top of that, I was nervous about Wildflower, even though I swore up and down that I wasn't. Or, if not nervous about Wildflower, I was worried about getting my workouts in and felt like I was being a total asshole because I wanted to prioritize working out, grading papers and planning classes, and also I aspired to be a decent person to share a life/house with, but I kept failing pretty miserably at that goal since I was super tense and not a fun person for several weeks. I think the breaking point came last week when I accused another person in the household (the dogs were exempt from this accusation) of eating the last of the granola and then I went and cried. First of all, this other mysterious person had NOT eaten all of the granola, we had a new bag because god forbid we actually run out of granola - gasp! And secondly, I obviously needed to get a fucking grip on my life.
While I'm still a bit stressed about home stuff, especially because our dogs now have fleas and we're on a major offensive as we fight the infestation (we're blaming the neighbors' yappy dogs for this too - why not), I've experienced a sudden and major reduction in anxiety. It's amazing! Classes continue, but I can feel the year coming to a close, especially now that my students have survived their AP and felt pretty good about the experience. Who knows what their scores will reveal about this confidence, but it's nice for them to sense that they were prepared for the exam.
I've also taken a major step back from exercise/training/working out, whatever you want to call it. The previous two years, I bounced back from Wildflower pretty quickly, but I've spent this week focusing on major rest. Some of that is not necessarily by choice - my *awesome* run last week apparently resulted in a calf strain. Nothing terrible and it's feeling better as each day passes, but I was sporting a limp, especially walking downstairs, Monday and Tuesday. I'm signed up for a half-marathon at the end of the month, but I've decided that if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen - I'm not about to freak out about it.
The lack of grading combined with lack of exercise = lots of free time! So, I've finally been to school events to support students, have cooked dinner more nights than not, and feel less irritable in general. This is also coming on the heels of spending a great night with friends and their two-week-old baby boy and then, waking up this morning and not *having* to do anything today.
While this blissful moment probably won't last too long, it's a good reminder that I really need to incorporate more unscheduled moments in my week, if I can. Not that I'm all work/no play, but sometimes even the play feels scheduled, rushed or forced. I'd like to take advantage of this down time - do some reading, watch some movies, catch up with friends, and maybe even tackle some yard work!
And a side note to all of this: I hope this didn't come out as "Oh, I'm so busy! My life is complicated!". It's probably busier than some people's lives, a lot more chill than others'. And I'm aware that I've made the choice for all of these stressors, some of which I handle better than others.