I just started teaching for a new school year. I'm thankful for a fresh perspective and renewed energy after a great summer break. Summer just went by too quickly, as usual. This year I decided that I was going to put time and effort into teaching and grading, but that I also wasn't going to get caught up in small details and dwell on things that could discourage me. I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to focus on sources of unhealthy stress. I'm trying to find the balance every day between caring and putting forth my best self and effort while also taking care of myself.

We live in a culture that places a ton of emphasis on work. Work is definitely not everything. There' so much more to life than work. The work we do is important, especially when it serves our communities or makes other people's lives better.

I think this life is too short to get caught up in worrying about things that you can't control or feeling guilty.

I'm going to strive to do my best work like giving constructive feedback to my students and demonstrating that I want them to have the best education that they can get. I also am going to be forgiving of myself and be flexible and adaptable in and outside of the classroom. So often I want to control the outcome of my plans and efforts, but I can't always do that. I'm going to try not to feel guilty if I don't accomplish everything on my to-do list every single day or if e-mail a student back within ten minutes. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect in everything I do, and it's just not possible.

I'm going to look at each day as a learning opportunity and do the best I can with the tools I have and the emotional and mental state I'm in. My goal is to make progress every day in becoming a better friend, instructor, actress, writer, and person. My twenties have shown me that progress is continuous, there's always something to learn, and not all goals are met overnight.

So far, intentionally having a different outlook has been beneficial. I'm enjoying the little moments in life surrounded by friends and just being with people I love. in the grand scheme of eternity, what matters is how we treat each other. There is so much more to life than work that we do.

I'm going to try to do my best to take care of myself and prioritize my mental health so I can be my best self for other people. I hope you can do the same. I think if we're all kinder to ourselves, perhaps we'll be a little kinder to each other.