Why is it that great ideas come to me in my dreams but then elude my memory on wakening. I had a perfect topic for my blog, I even remember writing it in my dream, but now there are just snatches of swirling half ideas, fragments of concepts floating just out of my grasp.
It is that point in the term, 4 weeks in, when my head is crammed with all the tasks that I need to do, all the conversations, emails, lesson plans, photocopying, presentations, that I start to dream about work. So vividly that I am almost convinced that I have actually done some of the jobs on my endless list when I get to school the next day! How many times do you say, “I’m sure I did that!”. Maybe you did, in your dreams.
What is a dream? A dream is either: a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep OR a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.
It is thought that the content of a dream is closely related to recent real life events which your brain seeks to make sense of or filter whilst it is resting as a way of clearing and relaxing and coping with life. Given that we live our lives in a whirl and we probably have little time to process during our busy days, sleep is the only time that our brains do have time to do that processing.
Recently, one of the questions on the FaceBook group NZ Teachers (Primary) was how did teachers maintain some sort of work-life balance? How did they fit in school, planning, family, exercise, eating healthily etc. As you can imagine there were lots of responses. All of them felt that school dominated, long hours, at school after school, before school, at the weekends. But most talked also about making the effort to create “me” time, “family” time, “brain” time. We can’t keep on going and be effective teachers without providing our brains and our spirits without a space to regenerate.
One person added this warning, “Remember Celia Lashlie’s last gift to the world… “I’d waited too long to look after myself and my body broke.”It is tragic, but I have seen too many friends and colleagues “break” because they don’t give themselves a break or they don’t feel that they can take a break given the pressures and the competition in the workplace. I sometimes feel that it is just that – a competiton. Who can work the hardest , the longest hours, start the earliest in the morning, leave the latest in the evening, give the most tutorials at lunchtime . It becomes a vicious circle and it is dangerous.
When we don’t give our bodies and our brains time to recover, we get sick, we perform less well, we fail. You owe it to yourself to make the time to relax in whatever way is right for you. Training for the Oxfam 100km has actually helped me regain some balance. Yes, it creates some time constraints but my head feels lighter, I think when I am walking, I talk, I relax, I give my body a break from sitting over a computer, I get fresh air in my lungs and oxygen to my brain. I guess I need to keep that balance once the big day is over!
What is your work life balance like?