Feeling down

Have been trying to post a blog once a week but missed out last week having found things a bit of a struggle.    The end of term was manic, as I suspect it was in many schools across the UK and across the world.    I was extremely busy finding myself trying to balance a multitude of different tasks and projects.   Additionally, I was working on my personal fitness trying to complete 100km of running during October, having failed to do so during September due to a cold which had stopped me running for most of the final week. 

And so the half term arrived and my energy levels suddenly plummeted.  Exhaustion, or at least that’s what I now believe it was, kicked in.    I managed to drag myself out for a 10km run last Saturday albeit it was very broken and particularly slow however after this my energy was spent.   I suddenly found myself with little energy and little motivation to undertake a variety of personal tasks and projects, as well as work related tasks.  In fact, I found myself with little energy to undertake much at all. 

Sunday arrived and I found myself depressed.   Part of this was due to my low energy levels, and my inability to getting moving forward on things while another part was related to the fact that Saturday, and an opportunity to undertake personal tasks and achieve something, had came and went with little to nothing achieved.  The fact I couldn’t focus sufficiently to get a blog put together only added to way I was feeling and to my worsening outlook.

Monday was little better.   I had plans for a run.   My plan revolves around 4 runs per week of 6km each if I am to achieve my 100km, with my runs normally Monday, Wednesday and then Friday and Saturday.   The Monday run never happened as I couldn’t motivate myself to get up and out in the morning, with the same issue on the Tuesday.   And this lack of progress, despite my plan, further put a dampener on my mood.   

It wasnt until mid week before I was able to work to correct my mood and pull myself out of the depressive cycle which was building.   I knuckled down despite how I felt and a number of successive work tasks completed including a couple which provided a bit of satisfaction all helped to improve how I felt and my outlook.

Its Friday now and I sit on a train on the way home from a trip to London.   I feel significantly better than I did at the start of this week, but the events of the last week highlight how variable my mood and feelings can be.   When I look back a year or more my sense is that my mood is reasonably level however this is the illusion of memory;   the reality is my mood is very variable.   The challenge for me is to find ways to manage this.   This time it was putting my head down and working but I doubt that will always work.   The question then is how can I prepare and identify coping strategies for should my motivation and outlook “tank” at some point in the future.   I also think on reflection I have grown to be good at managing lots of task and managing being busy, but not so good or happy when it comes to down time, to sitting relaxing watching TV or reading a book.   Although I know these are important acts in allowing me to decompress, relax and recover, it doesn’t feel productive and therefore leads to feelings of depression.   Thinking about it, I can see why this might happy given a normal workday might see 10 or 12 items ticked of a to do list, whereas sitting through 10 episodes of binge-watch TV does quite compare in terms of a feeling of achievement.

Am not sure if this post will resonate with others but thought I would share anyway as maybe it will help others, or maybe it will just help me at some point in the future, as a reminder that things are more chaotic and variable than we remember, but that in the end most things work out. I suspect we could all do better in being aware of our mood and feelings, and seeking to better manage them.

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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