Hey everyone! So I felt like after the day I had yesterday, I needed to share a little wisdom with you all.
I’m an introvert. This is incredibly obvious to most people who cross my path. I’d much rather be by myself with a book than making awkward small-talk with someone. Even in big family situations, I tend to sit there silently and just listen to all the conversations.
Not only am I an introvert, I’m also an HSP: a highly sensitive person. Loud noises, lots of chaos, bright lights, even being hungry or tired impact me more than other people. This pie chart is really good at explaining what this means.
So that pie chart is 100% accurate, at least in my experience. A lot of my time feeling overwhelmed come from being overly observant and caring about everyone’s feelings. Once I realized I was an HSP, I’ve been able to embrace it more. I know what my triggers are and when I need to walk away.
At school, we’re starting to wind down to the end of the year. We still have a couple of weeks, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at the kids. So it’s been kind of a stressful week. We been planning a celebration for the good kids, I helped with the drama club after school, I met with the show choir director to talk about next year’s show, and of course there’s 5 days of teaching taking place in there.
Normally, this doesn’t get to me too badly. I go home after school, enjoy my evenings alone, and I’m good to go the next day.
This week, especially yesterday, that wasn’t exactly the case. I’ve been tired all week, partly, I think, from a new workout I’ve been doing. Also, allergies suck so I’ve been struggling through those. And my classes are working on a project, so I’ve been getting used to having some quiet work time each day in class.
I didn’t get that quiet time yesterday. And it showed.
My morning started off stressful right from the beginning. So much to do, so little time. I stole a few minutes to read quietly before the kids came because I knew I needed it. The rest of my morning went fine.
If you’ve never sat in a teachers’ lounge over lunch, then you have no idea what that looks like. It’s loud. We’re constantly talking about what stresses us out or whatever funny thing we can think of–families, students, sports, you name it. There was a kid yesterday that a lot of teachers were worried about and they started talking over each other about different things they witnessed.
This is a trigger for me. I can’t handle that much noise, that many people talking at once. But I’m also a teacher and worried about my kids, so I sat through it and listened to know what I should be looking for.
Then I had three more classes after that where I needed to be mentally present. One of my classes is more off-task than most, so I needed to be constantly walking around and watching them for the entire 45 minute class. (Not to mention, a kid earned himself a detention at the end of this class for leaving class early. He just walked out and it really got on my nerves.) After that class is my prep, when I normally get to be alone in my classroom and do whatever needs done.
But yesterday was our celebration for our good kids. We allowed them (if they haven’t gotten in trouble since Spring Break) to choose a class period to skip and play games in a bigger room in the school. Any teacher on prep that period was assigned to supervise. I was in there with two other teachers, one of whom is my really good friend. But we had 75 kids in there, all playing ping pong, board games, Wii, or just generally throwing popcorn around the room. Music was playing from a sound system, people were talking and yelling.
It was too much for me.
If I could have, I would have left about halfway through. But as a sort of chaperone, I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave the other two teachers with 75 kids. So I stuck it out.
I knew immediately after it was over that I was in bad shape. I was hungry, overwhelmed, stressed, and tired. My last class of the day bore the brunt of it. I lit into them early in class and they didn’t do a single thing out of line for the rest of class, which is unusual for them. (For example, the day before, one of the boys in that class was blasting Justin Bieber’s “Baby” for a reaction from his friends and would not stop. That was more important than working on his project.)
I couldn’t even escape after school. I need to stay to help clean up the destruction from the celebration. And after that, I needed to do some grocery shopping that I hadn’t realized I’d needed to do until that morning when I ran out of bread.
The poor cashier at Walmart kept trying to make conversation with me, but my brain was so sluggish I literally didn’t even realize what she’d said until she backtracked. I felt bad, but I was barely functioning.
When I got home, I made myself one of my favorite dinners and laid down to watch some YouTube videos to unwind. I ended up falling asleep for something like an hour. After that, I fixed myself a drink, watched a movie I hadn’t seen in a while, and knit. The longer I was doing my own thing, the better I felt.
This morning, getting up and getting around, I still feel a little bit off from everything this week. I can still feel that I’d rather be alone than with other people, an unfortunate realization since I have a graduation party this afternoon. But I also know I’m in a much better place than I was. And I have all tomorrow I can stay home and clean and bake and read. All of those sound heavenly right now.
I say all of this to say that if you’re an introvert or an HSP (regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert), you know what you need. You know when you’ve had too much of an experience. So take some time to yourself. Recharge your batteries. Do what you need to do. Don’t ignore the signs.
It’s self-care and you deserve to be happy.