Today I’m excited to be joining an amazing group of music education bloggers to discuss the ever-so-stressful time of year, coined by Love, Teach as DEVOLSON (otherwise known as the Dark Evil Vortex of Late September, October, and November). While I always considered the stretch after New Year’s and before spring break to be the worst, I still felt the stress of DEVOLSON every year. There were concerts to plan, grades to enter, meetings to attend, and of course, there was also the teaching. Do you sometimes feel like teaching begins to take a back-seat? Yep, I did too.

To add to the non-stop chaos of DEVOLSON, there’s also the fact that winter break is approaching, which for many people means celebrating the holidays with family and friends. For me, this means making sure I’m bringing the right food to Thanksgiving and shopping for Christmas gifts on the weekends. However, among all the chaos and non-stop motion, I do think there are ways to make this time of year a little easier. So, here are my top tips for handling the holidays.

#1. Get Your Family On Board
Explain to your family and/or roommate that you experience a special kind of tired when you come home from work. Tell them that it resembles the feelings you have when you wake up in the morning; groggy, dazed, and in need of silence. Chances are, even if they aren’t able to give you complete solitude, they will at least be a little more considerate of your feelings after a long day of teaching.

#2. Look Forward Happily
No matter how bad your day has been, there are still some things within your control that you can look forward to happily. That might mean watching your favorite TV show after everyone else has gone to bed or writing in your journal with a glass of wine at your side. Whatever it is, no matter how small, you are left with a sense of contentment that at least one thing did go right that day.

#3. Avoid Sweets
You’re annoyed with me already. I understand. I am too. I love pies, chocolate, and especially doughnuts, all of which contain an unnecessary amount of sugar. However, as much as I hate to admit it, eating sugar makes me feel tired and grumpy, and I suspect it might make you feel the same. So when you’ve entered the teacher’s lounge and spot the box of doughnuts in the corner, try grabbing one instead of the bucketful that you’d like to have (maybe that’s just me?) Sometimes the smallest changes make a huge difference.

#4. Vent
Often times, in order to deal with something beyond my control, I need to vent to a friend. Someone who will listen without judgment and who gets how hard it is to be a teacher, even if they aren’t a teacher themselves. Find someone who will be that person for you, and don’t feel guilty if you have to vent every single day of the week. It is DEVOLSON after all. Still can’t think of someone to vent to? Feel free to e-mail me. I’d love to chat with you!

#5. Give Yourself a Break
You are only human. Chances are, the expectations you have for yourself are much, much higher than what others have set for you. The fact that you’re reading this blog instead of partying the day away tells me that much. Therefore, give yourself a break and remember that everything will be okay.

Need a reminder of that for your desk? Download and print the freebie below.


Click the image to download

Need some more tips on how to handle the holidays? Be sure to visit the links below to read great advice from fellow music education bloggers!