Finding a Balance: You Come First!

By Victoria Jasztal on March 31, 2010

Left: My best friend from college and I at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.

Do you know another teacher on campus who seems to have endless time on his or her hands and is still able to make carefully planned, engaging curricular activities? Perhaps you are that person, and you overhear the comments people utter like: "Does (s)he have a LIFE outside of school?" and "Where does (s)he find ALL that time when I cannot even spare a second?"

Admittedly, I am not too far from that mark. It is sometimes very difficult to see where my personal life fits into the equation of my daily life because I dedicate so many hours each day to my job. Similar to what Beth Newingham posted about the birth of her son and finding a balance, every teacher has to find a balance in his or her personal life.

It Starts With Goal-Setting:

  • I recently decided to make a life-changing decision to hire a personal trainer. Sometimes, it is challenging to find the motivation to exercise, particularly when one has a packed schedule. It has been particularly difficult balancing health-related issues with work, yet having someone motivate me that I can get more active can make all the difference.
  • Additionally, I am gathering healthy, sensible recipes to vary the types of meals I prepare for myself. Cooking has never been a hobby of mine, yet now I am beginning to find joy in it because it's not something that has ever engaged me. It's different, and I am discovering ways I can have a tremendous time in the kitchen.
  • I am also trying to spend more time with the people who matter the most to me. Specifically this year, I have found myself messaging people on the Internet I have not spoken to for over a year or even several years. Two weeks ago, I went to my friend's baby shower; I had not seen her in over two years, though we only live an hour away from one another.
  • Last weekend, another friend and I headed to Busch Gardens in Tampa, where I was determined to get on Sheikra, "the most foreboding roller coaster of all with a 200-foot, 90-degree drop". I also fulfilled an important dream, heading out on the safari where visitors to the park can get "up close" and interact with the animals.
  • That same weekend, I began reading a new novel I spontaneously purchased at Wal-Mart earlier in the week; it was the first "non-school" book I had engaged myself in over a year.
  • Besides that, I recently attended a Renaissance Festival with my students, which I had never done before. Now I have the desire to attend other events where I have never given a second thought.

Ask Yourself:

  • Is there something you have seen in a magazine that you have wanted to try? A scrapbook layout, craft, recipe?
  • Have you wanted to join a gym in the past, yet never took the chance?
  • If you peruse a bookstore, what type of book would you be willing to purchase for yourself?
  • Is there something you have always wanted to try, even if it seems out of the ordinary?
  • Are there classes you could take in your area if you have the desire to do so? (The thought of photography classes has always intriged me.) 
  • Are there festivals, shows, or other interesting events going on in your area?
  • Is there a contest that you can enter that interests you?

I have to admit that 2010 has been the year where I have taken the most risks in my entire life. I did not know whether every decision was going to turn out for the best, yet I absolutely do not have any regrets at all. I encourage you to focus on a few hobbies, perhaps discover new ones, take risks, and believe in your strengths. Most importantly, I encourage you to look at your life in a brand-new light!

Don't just encourage your students to take risks. Teachers should do it as well!

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Hi, Wendy! I haven't headed to the personal trainer yet, but I am extremely excited for the day I will head there. It's going to happen quite soon. I think having a personal trainer will certainly increase my motivation! - Victoria

Beautifully written! You are absolutely right. We do need to take better care of ourselves. I wish you the best of luck on your journey. And good luck with the personal trainer. I need one too. :)

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