LOOKING FORWARD AND FACING THE UNKNOWN
With another year gone by the wayside, January is the month to look to the year ahead. Resolutions are made and we attempt to plan our path through another twelve months. I say attempt because life isn’t a straight road from A to B. No, life is more like an ocean and sometimes it’s difficult to know which way you’re going, let alone if that is the right way.
When you look ahead to the new school year, you may be facing some big changes. Relocation to rural and remote areas can loom over you like a dark cloud on the horizon. How will this affect you? How will you go leaving family? Will the new school’s staff be friendly? Will you like the new town? There’s a myriad of thoughts that can weigh you down. Even a smaller change such as teaching a new year level or a change in your school’s catchment can cause high levels of stress before you even start back at work.
So, what can you do about this? Rather than sitting there as your anxiety creeps up and up, try out a few of the tips below to help get you through this unsettling time.
IT IS WHAT IT IS
Some things are simply outside of your control. You can’t change these things, you just have to accept that the situation exists. Don’t focus on the problem, don’t let your thoughts dwell on what is happening. Instead, move your attention to what you can do to make your situation better. If you’re relocating to a new town and are worried about finding likeminded people, then consider what social groups or clubs exist in which they may be found. If you’re starting with a new teaching partner, then consider ways you can foster a connection with that person.
Having these plans in place before you arrive in the situation can give you a sense of control that will help alleviate your feelings of uncertainty. One trap to avoid is the dreaded “What if…”. Try not to move your thoughts into the negative outcomes of your strategies, as these will quickly make a good idea look terrible without even giving it a chance to shine.
WRITE IT DOWN
With the above in mind, start writing. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, whatever your preference may be) is an excellent way to order your thoughts and create a sense of stability inside your mind. Write down the key points on what you need to do or information and resources you need to acquire. Once you’ve listed these, go back and break each one down further. What starts off as a huge undertaking soon ends up as a much simpler series of asks. As they say, every journey starts with a single step. It’s clichéd, but it works.
While you’re at it, writing your own thoughts in a journal can also be a great comfort. Just getting those feelings out of your head can help you gain a better understanding of how you’re feeling. We generally don’t go around psychoanalysing ourselves inside our own mind, but sometimes when you stop and think about it, you can obtain insights into why you’re feeling this way that can help you overcome some of the more stressful thoughts. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but give it a go and you might be surprised.
Finally, stay positive. When life is smooth sailing, this is simple. However, when you’re faced with uncertain times ahead it, becomes much more difficult. A nice tip is to think about just one positive outcome from your day. If you can’t find something from today, then look back at previous days or focus on something positive that’s on the horizon. With your new found positive attitude, jump right into that uncertain situation and give it your best. See it as the opportunity for growth and learning that it is. Remember, the universe never throws anything at you that you can’t handle. It may not be obvious now, but time will show you that it was the right thing for you.
I’d love to hear from those of you that are facing an uncertain year and whether these tips have been of help. Or maybe last year was the anxious one for you? If you’ve faced this before then help others by letting us know how you overcame these feelings of uncertainty. Leave your comments on the blog, Facebook or wherever you read this article and hopefully it can help your fellow readers.
Lastly, if one of your concerns for the coming year is teaching resources, then please head on over to our home page where you can instantly download three hours of teaching content from the very popular 10 Quick Questions a Day program totally FREE of charge. Just sign up through the green box and you’re done. Whilst you’re over there, have a look through the rest of our resources that we offer for the new school year. There’s plenty more resources available to make your life just that little bit more easier and straightforward when heading back to the classroom this year.