The Overwhelm & How to Beat It
What have these past few weeks felt like for you? For me, they have felt overwhelming, and I have noticed this as a general theme for nearly everyone I have spoken to. It seems we are in another round of change and unpredictability spurred on by the pandemic. Even now that school is back in session, school looks different for everyone. Some students are learning in-person. Others are learning virtually, and still others are experiencing a bit of both.
This fall is a lot different, in many positive ways, than last spring. Baltimore County and City schools are trying to duplicate the school day in order to give students some semblance of structure (similar to a bell schedule). September is always a transition month as students return to school and summer fades into fall, but this September brings with it much more transition than any other fall I have experienced. The fact still remains…we are living through the uncertainty of a pandemic.
This feeling of overwhelm has led me to question: what can be done? How do we ease this feeling? At Wright Academics, we have embraced a twofold approach to help address the complex feelings accompanying school this fall: being proactive and intentional listening.
At the office, we have been doing everything and anything we can to make sure all health precautions are being met and exceeded. My husband, Chris, has built plexiglass shields to be used in study rooms and general areas. We have embraced masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, frequent hand washing, wiping down surfaces, and more. Taking action and doing something about the uncertainty tends to bring me peace. While I do still feel overwhelmed frequently with this situation (how can you not?) one tid bit of advice I have for you is this: action eases anxiety.
The second thing that has brought me consistent peace is intentional listening. Right now, empathy is paramount. Whether I am talking to a parent, student, teacher, or tutor, I have found most of them just want to feel heard. In fact, our fall programs were born out of the needs of the community. Before forming any of our programs (the drop-off or neighborhood pods programs), I interviewed students. While I also heard from parents, students’ needs are the foundation of these programs. Students expressed that having someone to help them when they got stuck on a concept or to keep them on task was extremely helpful. They emphasized how important having someone to help them understand directions or re-teach a concept is for having a productive school day. In the end, these programs forced us to be creative with how we assist our students through such an overwhelming time. Another small tid bit of advice: listen to those around you; often people will tell you what they need if you are willing to listen.
At the end of the day, most of us are not meant to live in isolation. If you are reading this, my hope for you is that you feel understood and relieved knowing you are not the only one experiencing feelings of overwhelm. I feel it. Members of my team feel it. Parents feel it. Students feel it. While I do not have a magic solution to this feeling, as often the only way to move past a feeling is to fully experience it, I have found being proactive and intentionally listening to those around me to be particularly comforting. As Glennon Doyle says, “We can do hard things.”
Do not be afraid to reach out for support or to say, “I don’t know.” We are all working with what we have! If you are in need of resources and/or direction, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you through this transition.
If you are interested in learning more about our academic coaching or the resources we recommend, click HERE.
About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.