Paula Shaw, grief expert talks about how adults experience the back to school blues when the fall routine is shifted in the name of change.
Teachers and other school personnel are quite possibly the most important people on the planet. They impact the lives of our youth and they set the path for future generations to lead our world.
We all know that teachers are under-paid and under-appreciated, but we don’t always consider their feelings when it comes to retirement.
Many people might think that a teacher would be thrilled to retire. No more dealing with tantrums, or behavior problems, no more having to pay for school supplies out of pocket etc... However, for many teachers who retired in June of this year, not going back to school this fall has presented a profound loss and today we’re going to talk about that.
The issues that we are going to discuss would also apply to anyone retiring or making a big life change, but we will specifically look at teachers as this is back to school month. If you are not a teacher, as you read through the loss issues, apply them to your situation.
For many teachers, August or September’s return to school is a defining moment in their year, and it becomes part of the way they plan the activities of their lives. We all remember that first fall after finishing college or grad school when it felt odd not to be headed back to school after 16+ years of doing so. Now, imagine how a retired teacher might feel after decades of working in academics. Some teachers work for thirty or forty years before they retire so think of the losses that come with not going back this year.
Loss of identity – Many teachers may be asking, who am I now that I’m not teaching? How do I fit into the world?
Loss of companionship – Most teachers are surrounded by an entire faculty and those people become their family and friends.
Loss of purpose- Teachers change lives every day, their students become their most prized accomplishments. How must it feel not to have contact with those same kids now?
Loss of a familiar routine and familiar surroundings – After years of having a specific morning routine and schedule, now it may not matter what time you get up and you won’t be doing the usual things that you always did to get ready for work. No more greeting familiar people in a familiar place. This can be very disconcerting.
Loss of mental stimulation – The brain work that is required by being actively engaged in a profession, especially teaching, is stimulating and energizing. People tend to be happier when they are doing something that is mentally stimulating. Drinking coffee and watching Soaps is a poor substitute for chatting with friends and watching kids eyes light up when they figure out the answer to a problem.
There are many other kinds of losses that can take place both for teachers and for anyone who retires from a profession that has greatly impacted their life for many years.
If any of you reading this are a newly retired, or if you know someone who is, here are some tips to help with the transition and loss being experienced.
In the prior segments of this series, we discussed doing Balanced Breathing each day. I also think it is critical to hold your hands over each of your energy centers or chakras each day and imagine white light flowing into them. This will keep them operating optimally and will enhance overall health. Think of it like putting gas in the car before you drive it.
I would love to hear any comments or suggestions that you might have that would help others going through big life transitions.
Next week I am going to talk about my dad, a World War II veteran and his battle with the grief and PTSD. Hope to see you then.
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PAULA SHAW, CADC, DCEP is an author, Energy Psychology specialist, therapist, speaker, Reiki Master and Grief Counselor. For more than 20 years, Paula has been passionate about empowering people who are dealing with profound loss, so they can reap something truly beautiful from their pain. She also helps clients who are going through major life transitions or seeking freedom from self-destructive addictions. She has degrees in Education and Communications from Long Beach State University, as well as graduate counseling credentials from Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the founding members of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and currently serves on its board of directors. Paula is the author of Chakras, the Magnificent Seven (2002), as well as "Grief...When Will This Pain Ever End?" Finding Your Way out of the Pit of Despair After Profound Loss.
Former Blog Archive
Thank you for reading Paula's Blog. Because our site moved in June, we were unable to transfer all of our blog posts over. You can however, read the rest of them by visiting our old blog site. HERE