Three ways to get your energy back

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Aziz Soubai
Aziz Soubai

by Aziz Soubai

I see teaching as a very hard and even nerve-racking profession, especially when you daily deal with a classroom full of unruly teens. This situation makes me literally consume all my energy and sometimes results in a burnout. To help myself restore my energy and recharge my batteries, I resort to activities that might seem strange and out of context. I say strange because maybe one would expect re-energizing pastimes like swimming, hiking, or jogging (which are fine, by the way, and I like to do them particularly during holidays). However, in this post I will be talking about my three specific habits which help me to relax and get rid of the stress, anxiety, and nervousness after a day or a whole week of teaching English to sometimes unmotivated EFL learners.

The first practice I engage in is writing poetry. Yes, it is unbelievable therapy and a huge remedy for all kinds of pain and problems. I try to put anything that crosses my mind on paper. I write about both bad and good experiences and try my best to wrap them in the form of beautiful musicality and rhythm. I’m quite a pedantic person, so I choose my words very carefully and this turns writing into an extremely painful (and joyful!) process. It is painful because I might spend a lot of time looking for the right word or an expression that serves the exact purpose I have in mind. It is joyful when the fight is over and I emerge victorious. There are some of my poems below and I wonder if you can sense my feelings while reading them…

The life turned sour

The life turned sour!

avoiding a bleak past I abhor

I stroll to the beach; swam ashore

the life turned sour!

 

My days filled with anger and pain

the sun’s warmth beginning to wane

thunderstorms and ferocious rain

The life turned sour!

 

looking at the moon distant and pale

like it is willing to cry and wail.

Of these pitiful sights

I don’t want more

the life turned sour!

 

Seeking a refuge, a little zone

to voice my feelings and moan

to fulfill my belated ambitions

to finish what I started before

The life turned sour!

finding answers is my mission

building a world of my creation

 

knowing where is the door? ?

The life turned sour!

 

I wrote a song

I wrote a song

cause I wanted to see what’s wrong

Why there is so much war?

people should love instead of abhor.

 

So much killing

that has no meaning

This conflict caused a lot of death

by men who have absolutely no wit.

 

This insanity must have an end

that’s the message I want to send

Love, peace and security

for you for me for all the humanity.

 

My second re-energizing habit is listening to music in loud speakers. I believe that music is a powerful tool to unleash one’s potential and creativity. There is a saying that “music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” and I believe it to be very true. Listening to one of my favorite songs, such as Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, boosts my motivation to keep working, increases my energy levels, and makes me totally relaxed. I mentioned loud speakers because they can make you enjoy the musical piece even more, with all of its hidden soothing sounds and the “spicy” bits which await to be savored.

Music has another strange and pleasant effect on my imagination and creativity. On some level, many of us might have experienced a writer’s block or met a hurdle that kept us from completing a task like writing an article, a dissertation, or a thesis. In this case, I do not continue working on the assignment but rather immediately divert my attention to calm music. Most of the time this strategy helps me get a fresh perspective and overcome the obstacle.

Another way to recharge for me has to do with watching inspirational movies, TED talks, and documentaries to learn about the world. This helps me a lot to get relaxed before facing another day of classroom challenges and humdrum. Luckily, these days the Internet is full of videos of this kind. I prepare a list of the topics or themes that I would like to learn about or that I believe will motivate and empower me. For example, I enjoy watching documentary films showing lions hunt in pairs or groups (cooperative hunting) in the wild. Such shows never cease to amaze me. Do you know, for instance, that these ferocious predators attack and kill hyenas but never eat them, and we still don’t know why that happens?…

The life of a teacher can be quite tiring but we should still live and enjoy every moment of it. No matter what job saps your energy, you should always remember to treat yourself to your favourite things and hobbies that make you feel good and ready for the day ahead.

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Aziz Soubai

Aziz Soubai is a Moroccan EFL teacher with more than 6 years of classroom experience. Soubai graduated from Ibn Zohr University with BA degree in English literature. With a passion for learning and teaching using technology, he was enrolled in several professional development courses designed by the International Teacher development Institute, Arizona State University and Coursera. He conducted many professional workshops mainly related to English Language instruction and effective classroom practices. Aziz is also an aspiring writer and a poet.

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