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Endorphins, Interrupted

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I have been inspired by a fellow school psychologist to go to the gym before work. She goes at like 5am and at first I felt like she was a crazy person, but now I get it. One benefit is obviously good cardiovascular health, but let's face it, that's not the reason I set my alarm early 3 days a week now. The true benefit is I feel like I can be that Braggy Bragerson gal who says casually, “Oh, I work out before work to get it out of the way,” like it’s totally easy. That and the endorphins. Truthfully, it’s so not easy to convince yourself to get up almost 2 hours before you have to normally get up to go. But now, I’m totally hooked. I love coming home and not having to talk myself into going to the gym. Because truth be told, I’m totally wiped out after work. Husband knows that I need like 30 minutes of silence when I get home, since I have been talking and choosing my words carefully all day long. Any conversation about what came in the mail, which contractor is coming to the house when, and important dinner decisions come after I have relaxed alone for a few minutes.

The only drawback to my work out before work plan (besides the obvious driving to the gym and actually working out) is that they have horrible TV at my gym and there is no escaping it. There are 10 televisions telling me how dangerous and tragic the world is (aka, the news). What offends me at the gym is that I have to look at the worst 15% of humanity on the morning news shows, 100% of my workout. A sample from this morning’s workout included war, murder, fires, kidnappings, and even DEADLY COCONUTS falling from trees in Indonesia. And I simply cannot stop myself from reading the horrible financial news ticker. Why? Why can’t I avert my eyes? Why do all the machines point at the news? It totally kills my endorphin buzz and is not a good start to my day, where I go on to deal with tragedies in public education and the community. I’m full of vicarious trauma before I even get to work. Boo.

Today, however, I found a solution. It is much better than my original thought of getting those visual blinders horses have on their faces so traffic and the world isn’t so scary. Not a good look. I found one machine on the veeeeerry end of the gym that points toward a TV that has only teen sitcoms. Ahhhh. The soothing mild drama of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed is much better for starting my day. I learn something every day. Sure, it’s almost always “Careful what you wish for!” but its better for my psyche than “Our world is going to hell and by the way, look out for deadly coconuts!”

If we're not careful, like watching the news, we can get jaded into thinking there is no good news in education or in our jobs. As school psychologists are well aware, no one refers kids who are doing well to us. "Hey, you're excelling and feeling great about yourself--go see Dr. B right away!" Not so much. We see the most severe 15% of the school population 100% of the time, which can leave one thinking that every child has issues if you don’t check yourself.

I solved my endorphin buzz kill at the gym. Now if only I could find time in my day to see how the other 85% of the students NOT referred to me are doing to keep positive...Do share your strategies! Just don't say go to the gym EVERY day. Mama needs her sleep sometimes.

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