I haven't always been able to even enjoy downtime like this. This is really a recent event, nurtured by a steady meditation practice (going on three years) and a newfound ability to just let things go, like having a super-clean and tidy house or having all of the shopping done. I am startled to realize that I have gotten to the point where I am not feeling like my time off comes with a laundry list of fun things I hoped to do and projects I wanted to accomplish. It is easier to just be and relax.
So if I can enjoy free time like never before--maybe I can also enjoy work time and busy times like never before, right?! I think it is possible. The key may be in slowing down enough to make better choices about what I am doing with my mind and my time. I know I am feeling happier and more present because of this slowing down that is my whole theme for this year. I think more meditation can only help. I am very interested in adding ten minutes of meditation to my lunch break at work and twenty minutes of meditation when I get home from work, before starting dinner.
I know that reactivity causes a lot of stress and frustration in my work day. When students get upset or frustrated and I am not present and responsive, I don't even stop to register their facial expressions or ask the right questions. I make snap judgements and then end up making small problems bigger. I then feel like a meanie and jerk and I continue to beat myself up and the stress compounds. Oy.
If there is anyone reading this who teaches and frequently thinks about how to be more relaxed and happy at school, please comment and share how it's going for you.