This is the final week of classes at my university. Next week is final exam week. These are two of the tough weeks on a teacher or student’s calendar. And let’s face it. They’re sometimes tough weeks for anyone connected to teachers and students.
We all have tough weeks. Some are in retrospect, “Geez, that was a tough week,” but for many of us, we know when a tough week is coming. Holiday weeks are tough for a lot of people.
After 14 years of teaching, these two weeks every semester are still tough for me. And so, I have developed some tools to deal with them.
#1: Tell all friends and family that this week is different for you
I remember bursting into tears over something ridiculous a few years ago and yelling to my partner, “You have to leave me alone! You have to leave me alone! It’s finals!!!” He stood in shock and said “Of course. I understand.” And he did. Because he’d been through a few semesters and seen it. So, luckily, he cut me a lot of slack for a few weeks.
I was emotional. I picked strange arguments. I was crabby. I couldn’t bring myself to cook a meal whereas throughout the rest of the year I loved to cook and eat at home.
It’s ok to have a week of all takeout where you cry inexplicably. Tell everyone it might happen. Let it be ok.
People can be so understanding when they know what’s going on. Tell the people you love this is a tough time for you. Watch the compassion flow back in your direction.
#2: Cancel or delegate all unnecessary obligations. Do not add anything new to your schedule.
If you’re a social person like me, you want to do fun things with friends and go to events. It’s just that, during a tough week, you might be crabby and super tempted to overeat and overdrink. You might use social events to procrastinate and avoid your tough week.
If you can, resist the temptation to start a downward spiral. I’ve gone down the party path, and I’m telling you that it makes a tough week tougher.
But you know what? Maybe you are trying to see how tough you are. In that case, go for it. Experiment. You’re not going to believe me until you try it. When you do, you’ll start to see the beauty of saying no. No, I can’t make it. I can’t do that. I’m going to give you the number of someone else who could help. I’ll see you in a week or two.
#3: Love yourself fiercely through your week. Give yourself time and space. Pep talk the crap out of yourself.
Mindfulness practice really helps you to notice your thinking. Are you expecting yourself to be perfect? That’s not going to feel good. No one is perfect.
Are you expecting to be happy all the time? That’s not human or possible.
Are you mad at yourself for experiencing so much negative emotion this week? Try being compassionate. You are doing your best. You can make it. It’s all going to be ok. We all get stressed sometimes.
Are you tempted to deal with stress in an unhealthy way? You can deal with it in a healthy way. You can go to bed early. You can ask for help. You can skip a hard workout for an easy walk. You can drink a hot cup of herbal tea. You are going to make it.
Gorgeous, hardworking reader: We all have tough times. You can make it through. Alert your inner circle that you’re having a big week, eliminate or delegate all unnecessary stuff, and love the crap out of yourself through the process.
And then, repeat whenever you need the old 1-2-3.
Loving you out there. See you on the flip side of this week. I’m ordering some takeout. XO