How to find balance in a demanding (teaching) job

The past year I’ve worked soo hard. There is nothing wrong with working a lot, every single person that reached something in life, worked their asses off. This is a fact. So I work hard and I love it. But this year I find it hard to relax during summer recess. Every semester in the last academic year was stressful (big time). Doing research besides teaching is always very difficult and I had trouble finding balance (working till midnight at least 3 days a week, without a break).

With every teaching job, also with mine in university they say: ‘Yes, you have to work hard, but you have a super long summer vacation (so shut up;)!’ And that is true (if you’re not writing books and doing a yoga teacher training during summer break like me ;). But the thing is, that if you work too hard, as in ‘loosing balance’ it’s not possible to just recover from that during the 5 weeks off in summer recess. There needs to be balance throughout the whole academic year. Yoga is all about learning to find that balance, during every moment of the day.

So here are some yoga lifestyle tips to help you destress on your holiday, but also to find your own perfect balance when you are in a stressful (but cool) and demanding teaching job or any other stressful job:

  1. Listen to your body and mind. If you notice small signs, like a body that hurts from long hours of computer work, those are most of the time symptoms of huge amounts of stress. Those are the signs that are very important and worthy: listen to them. Decrease hours, make more time to move and exercise
  2. Go out, be in nature. Also during working hours; go hiking, sit in the sunshine, connect with the elements
  3. Take enough sleep every night, don’t go to bed late, try not to work in the evening and if you do so: don’t go to bed immediately, first take your mind off work with something nice and fresh
  4. If you work many hours behind the computer, take into account that you also exercise enough, we need at least 40 minutes of cardio a day. Also try to do desk yoga or asanas with focus on neck and shoulders on a regular base
  5. Drink enough water. Especially when you drink coffee or black tea (this is not good according to the yoga diet), at least 2 liters a day
  6. Eat healthy food, maybe according to the yoga diet, like fruits and raw veggies instead of chocolate and cookies (this is the hardest one for me 😉
  7. Take moringa, eat a lot of greens, use healthy food supplements and if you need more concentration you could try ginkgo tea or supplements
  8. Start every day with at least a 10 minute mindful moment or meditation (I do this at least an hour in the morning)
  9. Try to do asanas in the morning yourself or take regular yoga class
  10. Close you computer and clean up your desk every day, especially when you work from home. Never complain, no matter how long and stressful your day was. Thank the higher energy for having such a great opportunity and responsibility in life: you were chosen for something, be grateful for that (I’m definitely super thankful for the fact that I’m doing the first academic research in my country, on yoga, meditation and mindfulness in primary schools)
  11. If you feel that your job is getting too demanding; find help. Ask colleagues for help or maybe a manager to help planning or maybe make some time off in your busy schedule. You are not failing when you ask for help, it is strong to make yourself vulnerable and signal-ate on time that some things aren’t possible. This shows that you are a good professional that can calculate in advance what is possible and what is not
  12. Try to focus on the parts of the job that give you energy, the parts that makes your heart go wild. Focus on everything that inspires you. All the rest: do what is necessary but nothing more. This way, you’ll win time, maybe for relaxing or go outside
  13. During weekends or days off, do not open your working computer or telephone. Separate working devices with private ones
  14. Start your holiday with a ritual to really shut off from work and start doing cool stuff like going on a vacation, yoga retreat or just a walk on the beach; do something that takes your mind off work
  15. Go to a spa, receive a good massage, really try to deeply relax. Treat yourself with a good bodyscan, relax body and mind completely every single day of your vacation. Be in the moment, enjoy
  16. Force yourself not to think of work during holiday and days off, only nice stuff that makes you happy. If your monkey mind goes wild, try to recite or chant mantra‘s. For this I can recommend the Gayatri Mantra which helps enlighten the mind
  17. Make time for your hobbies, like drawing, making music, dancing, everything that makes you happy: you deserve it! Enjoy life.
  18. Do daily affirmations during summer break: ‘I am relaxed. I feel good about myself. I have found a good balance in life. I enjoy every single moment of this beautiful day,’ etc. This, you can also do while working of course: ‘I’m very good in handling stressful situations. I am grateful for this cool job. I’m good in finding balance in life. I can do this!’
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