Top Three Ways to Pull Off Wearing Life’s Many Hats
By Samantha Geisler
“I don’t know how you do it!”
“Are you… okay?”
On any given day, I get these comments based on how well I appear to be managing my various roles in life: as a mother of a one-year-old with another one the way; wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, in-law, cousin, niece, neighbor; and AISAP board member. Not to mention that I’m Executive Director of Admission and Enrollment (yikes—even the title sounds overwhelming) at a 6-12 independent school that is currently in process of merging with two of its PreK-6 feeder schools. I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot.
Some days I appear to juggle these roles flawlessly, leaving those around me amazed at how I do it. Other days, my puffy eyes and blank stare tell another story. Here’s the thing, none of this is ever easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing—except maybe a little more sleep. Is it overwhelming? Absolutely. Do I want to throw in the towel sometimes? Of course. Why do I choose to wear so many hats? Because they all create a beautiful, messy and rewarding life for which I am beyond thankful. I got this. Right?
When life gets really overwhelming, bear in mind these few simple reminders:
- Breathe. I used to be very skeptical of this advice, but there are actual scientifically-proven benefits. Deep, thoughtful breathing works wonders for recentering and clearing your mind. I’m not talking about hours of meditation and yoga daily, though wouldn’t that be nice? A few minutes of mindful breathing throughout the day can make a world of difference. If you’re new to the idea of mindful breathing, YouTube has great resources for quick breathing exercises and some wonderful yoga videos of varying lengths (some even 5 or 10 minutes).
- Do the next right thing. One of my dearest friends introduced me to this simple mantra from writer Emily P. Freeman. When life—or any facet of life—gets overwhelming, break it down into one simple step at a time and do the next right thing. This has helped me navigate major work-related decisions, support friends in times of need, care for my firstborn, and, oh yeah, care for myself because sometimes Mama just needs a nap. It’s so easy to let ourselves drown in the volume of demands on us every day, but breaking those down to the next right thing helps us to breathe and keep moving.
- Lean on community. Find your people, and let them help you. Talk to them. Learn from them. Be vulnerable with them. Do things for them, and let them do things for you. Personally, I am so fortunate to have incredible friends and family who feed my soul. Professionally, both my team on campus and my extended AISAP family could not be more supportive. My personal and professional networks carry me through each and every day, and I only hope that I can give back to them even a fraction of what they do for me. If you find yourself in an environment personally or professionally that is not supporting you, do the next right thing and ask yourself if there might be a better environment for you somewhere else.
Some days I look in the rearview mirror and have no clue how I survived the hours behind me. This life is hard, but we can do hard things. Lean into the challenges, my friends, and recognize all that helps you wear your many hats.