Last semester was the most difficult four months I’ve experienced in my job. By December, I was burned out, depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. If I’m honest, it wasn’t just that four months. It was a long time coming. I wasn’t satisfied with my job or my life. I felt that I hadn’t been the teacher I needed to be, the colleague I needed to be, the organizer I needed to be, the wife I needed to be, the person I wanted to be. I felt like a failure.
In fact, the semester was so rough I wasn’t looking forward to another one. Normally, even if I’m tired, I am excited about the beginning of a new semester. I genuinely enjoy planning my courses and am like a kid on the first day of school. Not this time. I really and truly felt I had lost my joy in teaching, and as the first day of classes approached, I became even more apathetic and was filled with dread. I needed perspective.
I spent some time over the break reflecting and trying to figure out what went wrong. There are many contributing factors in the workplace that are beyond my control, but what I realized is that the most significant factor is who I am and what I need. I was neglecting myself in trying to be perfect. Continue reading