Reality Check

By: Shannon Shull

Lately I have been experiencing some major reality checks. My life stays so busy, and I am so stressed and overwhelmed that even when I sleep at night, I wake up exhausted from my crazy dreams. I have experienced major professional growth since I started teaching full time in the public school system. I wouldn’t take back any of the knowledge, experience and joy I have gained from my time teaching thus far, because I am a better person and certainly a better teacher for experiencing it. BUT – and here’s the big “but” – I’ve also gained about 10 pounds, sprouted way too many grey hairs, and feel like I’ve aged 10 years! I’ve only been teaching full time for a year and a half now! Folks, that’s sad! No lie, I have been more exhausted and overwhelmed than words can express.

time management

I know I am not the first person to declare that teachers are incredibly overworked and underpaid. I envy those that can go to work and leave it there – their work doesn’t follow them home, keeping them up during early mornings and late nights in an attempt to stay on top of everything. Those that think teachers have it made (thinking we get off work at 2 or 3:30 p.m. and get summers off) are clueless as to what the life of a teacher is really like. We don’t just show up, teach a few classes, and leave; it is way more involved than that! The required trainings, meetings, evaluations, and duties alone sometimes feel like a full time job.

shannon shull

What’s been so tough for me is that I was in the best shape of my life. I was teaching Zumba and Aqua Zumba classes throughout the week and getting tons of exercise, which resulted in me sleeping well, feeling good, and coping with incredible stress in my life without meds. Once I started teaching middle school full time, the health focus fell by the wayside something fierce. I had to stop teaching my regular Zumba and Aqua Zumba classes because I just flat-out did not have the time nor energy after teaching a full day. I have become a perfect example of not practicing what I preach! I know that if I could figure out how to squeeze in exercise, I would feel so much better on so many levels. Yet after an incredibly long day of being up since 5 a.m., teaching 170 middle school students within one day, making the long drive home, and then working to prepare lessons, the thought of having to add something else into my already-packed schedule seems to put my sanity levels at risk!

Obviously, my biggest challenge is time management. And I have absolutely got to figure out a way to make things work, because the utter truth is that I will feel better, sleep better and look better if I just make the exercise happen. So I’m asking you to hold me accountable! Email me, text me, Facebook me, ask me in person – “Shannon, did you squeeze in some exercise this week???!!!” If you have any tricks and tips on how you manage a busy career without losing focus on your health, please do share!

5 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. So, Shannon Liz your Mama will hold you accountable to meeting me at the dam and walking just one way across, on your way home from school , at least a couple of days a week !

  2. Managing 170 kiddies will test the patience and health of any man…or woman. Bend but don’t break seems to apply here. Trust me….you’re just bending a little. Looking beautiful while doing it I might add!

  3. You can do it!! I need more exercise too purely for energy reasons… I’ve found exercises really does make you feel more awake, productive and functional day to day!

  4. How about you get your students to join you in a daily “Dance Time” during your classes? Even just 10-15 minutes at a time throughout the day can add up to a real workout for you and for the kiddos! You can make it fun letting the kids take turns leading a dance, it doesn’t have to be structured or rehearsed, just let loose for a few minutes and get that heart rate going!!

    I know the feeling of where you’re at, I have fallen off the exercise wagon lately too, and am paying the price as well. Sometimes just thinking about the energy it takes to work out is exhausting! But you know how it goes… starting is the hardest part and draining, but then it doesn’t take long for that to turn around and you start feeling great, have more energy and actually crave exercise!

    We are all our own worst critics and too hard on ourselves. I am sure that you are still as beautiful as ever, and will get back to the place you feel comfortable soon.

    Yep, I need to practice what I preach 😉
    Love you girl!

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