I am not a fan of ranting my own problem and sharing it in social media in order to get people’s attention. However, the recent situation has really changed my life and I want to share this to you how mental health can happen and affect us so much:
Ever since I finished my CELTA training, I joined one local English institution (which I am trying to disclose the name here) as a part-time teacher while waiting for my scholarship application process. For the first few months, it was okay, until early 2019, they started paying the teachers’ salary by installments. Long story short, I found out that the company is not in good condition with its financial problem that has been happening for years. I kept quiet and patient, with the thought of hoping that things will be better. I have started looking for a new job and/or private teachings as a back-up plan for 6 months, but, surprisingly, this is the first time I found it difficult to find a new job and even private classes. Not to mention, having the scholarship rejected for the second time made me even down. I have dreams (that turn into an ambition) of perfecting myself by applying for Master’s degree scholarships and working abroad. I pushed myself so hard and always felt that I have to achieve everything I want and fight for. Knowing that I have failed in everything, I felt unworthy and unconfident. I couldn’t stop thinking of why and how this could happen, what I did wrong, and regarding the work situation, I also thought of why I didn’t see this coming, when will it resolve and how long I can endure the situation. Those situations have accumulated in me and this ended up growing my anxiety level and affected me mentally. With the fear of judgments, I only shared these with people who are close to me and decided to give myself some peace by staying away from social media (so now you know why I was inactive and quiet lately). It just depressed me more to see people’s updates. How I thought that I was unworthy of those big dreams and happiness. I tried my best not to vent with my colleagues, since they are having the same problem as me and to maintain the positive working environment as well. But the longer I sulk, it affected my health too, I couldn’t believe how I could get sick twice in a month lately. Not to mention how it also affected my confidence level and really did decreasing my abilities too.
Until one day, I remember the time after I had the cyst surgery 3 years ago, the doctor told me to maintain my health by thinking positively and minimizing stress level, otherwise it would make the remaining cysts which were failed to be taken away to grow bigger and cause the same problem, which at the end cost me more money to get rid of them again. Then it dawned on me that I need to end all this madness.
So then decided to resign from the job due to my health condition, and find my own peace of mind. I realized I have been so hard on myself and treated myself so badly lately with all these ambitions and sulking. Maybe God has taught me a lesson to take it slow and love myself. I want to go back to where I was, I want to shine again, I miss going back to conferences and meet people. However, maybe this time, I am going to focus more on myself, on my spiritual journey in order to find my peace of mind before I am ready to go back again.
My message to my fellow teachers and educators: burnouts happen, they are inevitable but we can minimize it by loving ourselves more and don’t let workloads burden you. Your boss won’t care about how much workloads they give and whether you’re sick or stressed; what matters for them is the result of your work and if you’ve done your job well. In order to prevent it, consider doing the things below:
Take some time to please yourself however you like: go out there, hang out with friends or family, watch movies, travel, eat out, karaoke or whatever that makes you happy (I love going to karaoke so I’ll do anything to sing my heart out and kill the stress away, with my awful voice x-p).
Try your best to talk things out with people you can count on. Or it would be a disaster to talk to the wrong ones. I’m very cautious, I vent only with non-judgemental people and those who are a good listener. I don’t want to end up feeling hurt or disappointed. I am not good at talking things out and I want to talk only to people whom I am comfortable with. If you hesitate to talk to people you know, going to counseling might be a good idea (I’ve thought about it too!).
Please, please, please bottle up the situation too long. Through my experiment of being cautious to whom I vent my problem, I found out that we actually have self-healing ability. Without venting, we can heal our pain through time. However, giving it time means bearing the pain and honestly, it’s not good for you, and your health. You won’t know how long you can keep your sanity, right?
Small things in this world can help you. Take some time to go out there, feel the sunshine, breathe the fresh air, and see nature’s colors will also help you kill the stress away.
Practice mindfulness and self-love. This is something I actually have practiced a long time ago but I was not aware of the result until I realize how much I need it. So then, I continue doing meditation more often, just to get my own balance, self-awareness, and self-love which leads to the impact with the surroundings. And as a woman, I love going to spas and salons. If you can afford it, going there once in a while would be good to show your self-gratitude and love. But if you can’t, like me at the moment, I’ve been dumping myself with sheet masks and hair masks, and I think they’re more than enough to make me happy too.
Practice kindness. I don’t mean to preach, I’m not saying that you have to practice charity, give donations and sort of things. Kindness isn’t always about money, it can be small things we do to others, even smile, listening ears and helping hands. We are not the only person in this world. We know that we are sad but there are more people whose situations are worse than us. Small things you can do to them, not only will make them feel better but you will too, it does for me. I realize one thing I miss when I’m down is a listening ear, and though we are in trouble, doing it to others, would make a great difference. Imagine how it feels when someone listens to you attentively without any judgments, then why not doing it to someone.
Pray. Nope, I, once again, don’t mean to preach. I’m not a religious person, but I believe in God. And I believe all things I have achieved whether good or bad, are God’s willing. When I’m down, and I have no one to talk to, I vent to Him.
There are actually so many things you can do in order to minimize burnouts and avoid depression. I’m lucky that my mind is still dominated with the positivity of not committing suicide (but this could happen, maybe accidentally! *knock on wood*). Because depression may lead to uncontrollable emotions that push people away from you and may cause harmful behavior to yourself if you bottle it all up. Again, I don’t mean to preach here, but I am just sharing things that helped in my self-healing process, which I hope you can find them useful. If you have more ideas to add, I would really love to hear and maybe practice them too. In the end, it’s only you who can make yourself better, no one could. So, loving yourself is the best thing to do. 🙂