Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Work/life balance

I can't sleep.

I know why I can't sleep.

I can't sleep because I didn't work tonight. I did go in work early and work productively all day, (9 hours) but I didn't come home and work more, so I can't sleep.

The reason I didn't work is that I'm tired and I'm prone to becoming insular, grumpy, downright unpleasant and alienating when I work too much. This isn't good for the people around me. Like the 5 year old for example.

The problem is, when I don't work, I become anxious. I get worried that I'm going to 'get found out' or that somehow I'm doing a bad job, being lazy.

But if I counter that feeling by working all the time, I alienate those around me. It's a viscous circle. Here's another one below. I wish we could all think about this one collectively. When did we decide collectively stress was good? What kind of stupid macho pseudo-american dream are we locked into?

Image result for vicious circle

To get to sleep I tried

- writing a plan of the day tomorrow
- 7/11 breathing
- visualising somewhere nice
- the radio

They didn't work.

In the end I wished I'd just worked all night instead as then at least my time wouldn't have been wasted worrying about the 100 million jobs I've got to do.

Sometimes I really, really, really hate this job. I hate working to a timetable, I hate not being able to go to the ebb and flow of my own creativity (I'm the sort of person who works in bursts,) I hate the fact I have to stand in front of people all day tomorrow and try to present a chirpy, cheerful and happy face. I hate the fact I have to be coherent and empathetic, strict and soft, make a hundred human judgements, maintain high standards whilst also showing understanding and all the time be an expert. I hate the fact I'm supposed to do all this whilst simultaneously recording it all and demonstrating I'd anticipated it all beforehand somehow. I hate boiling everything down into grades. I hate chasing learners who just apathetically shrug knowing that teachers will flog themselves into the ground for them because that's what the stupid system has taught them will happen.

I hate the fact everybody knows the profession is facing a mental health crisis, a recruitment crisis and a retention crisis and the best we get is a few tips on 'mindfulness' as if that's going to fix systemic problems and the underlying general anxiety of being a teacher.

If I did a 'normal' job, I'd have the day off, I'd take some leave, I'd work flexi-time to earn it back or whatever. I feel like absolute shite. I've not had a day off in 3 years. This is not a normal job. I will not have a day off.

I'm fine with mindfulness. I really am, but it's a sticking plaster on a gaping wound and we deserve better.

Am I the problem. Is my mind the problem?

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