Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Sunday Before Blue Monday

We know the Sunday night dread well. The sun goes down, the heating comes on, and our minds are full of the perils of packed lunches, work worries and ironing. Before you know it, you realise Blue Planet isn't on anymore and you're settling down to an evening of disappointing tv and running tomorrow's activities through in your mind. 

Do you know what makes that feeling worse? Discovering that there's this thing called Blue Monday, which is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, and it's tomorrow. 

But on Blue Monday Eve, I'm trying extra hard not to dread tomorrow. Because I'm actually not dreading it, because I love my job, and I like going to work - and let's face it, it can't be worse than last Monday (more on that later). I'm going on the idea that the thought of Blue Monday is far worse than it is. That we're surrounded by people and adverts and robots telling us how things are, and how things should be, and it's easy for your own feelings to become sucked in and manipulated by that. And for all the talk of nuclear war, and Trump's state visit, and M&S' Christmas sales being really very disappointing, 2018 has been alright so far.

I made a few resolutions, and I feel like reflecting on them 2 weeks in is perhaps a better test of how achievable they actually are. My first was to go the gym twice a week. I haven't done it - I went once, last Monday. But it was a truly horrific day of having my university observation cancelled at 5 hours notice, after weeks of work, approximately 10,000 words and a whole Sunday of really hardcore preparation, it felt like it had ALL gone to waste. It was no one's fault, but I was so angry I could have punched someone, anyone, everyone in the face. But I still went. And then I got ill, so I haven't been since...but I will because I'm determined to enter 2019 looking like a 5ft Margot Robbie. My second was to have one tech-free evening a week: no phones, tv, laptops. I did contemplate extending it to electricity until I realised that 1) I'm not Amish and 2) this is about making my evenings more relaxing not entirely unpleasant. I am loving it. It is calming, and it is quiet, and I've already read two excellent books this year. 

My third was inspired by a friend: do not take on stress which is not your own. It's something I'm infinitely guilty of, and is going to be my mantra for the year. After 8 days back at school, I'm already worried about why my year 10 didn't realise that blueberries existed outside of muffins, how my year 9s will ever be able to answer a 9 mark question in 9 minutes and why I'm contacting every teacher I know to try and find a school for me to spend the next three months at. They're kind of all my problems, but they're kind of not. They're things I have to engage in, and I want to engage in, but ultimately they're all short-term for me and they're not just my responsibility. I want to try and work out a balance where I can try and help everyone and not destroy myself in the process. There are a few others which I'm working on. Have better packed lunches (can confirm that just adding lettuce to a sandwich does not achieve this), always go for a walk on a Sunday, and learn how to parallel park. They don't feel like major achievements, but they're things that I think will make a difference (however big or small). 

And now, when I think about Blue Monday, I feel a bit better. I'm feeling pretty good about what achieved this year so far: from making it through my first nightmare week, to managing to take year 7 on a field trip with a rash that felt like I'd fallen in a thousand stinging nettles, to spending a totally guilt-free Saturday with my best friends checking out wildlife photography and eating massive pastries. So whilst I might only have a really boring lunch for tomorrow, and I have to teach a whole hour and 40 minute lesson on the demographic transition model, I'm going to enjoy my Sunday beef stew and have an early night. I'm sure there'll be worse Mondays. 


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