Nowhere do I feel the transition as much as in my daily workout. In the summer, I head to the gym in the morning, usually after a leisurely breakfast and enough coffee to face the day. I run on the elliptical for as long as I want and then come home for a relaxing shower. The workout leaves me feeling pleasantly tired but still energized for the rest of the day. Once I return to work, the schedule is dramatically altered. Workouts happen after school and nearly always with an eye on the clock because there are still a host of chores to complete before bedtime. Plus, instead of climbing on a machine with fresh legs, I'm climbing on after being on my feet for most of the last 8 hours. By the second week of school, I'm so tired by 9 pm that I'm convinced that something is dreadfully wrong. I head to Dr. Google, prepared to diagnose myself with some immediately terminal condition.
Then I realize I just have Back-to-School-itus, a condition that will start to cure itself by mid-October, when I hit my pace. Workouts are both a help and a hindrance during this time. They help by serving as daily stress relief and relaxation and by keeping me strong for the long run. But my tendency to overdo it (of course I can teach all day and then run five miles this afternoon) can overload my circuits and then the workout is exhausting instead of exhilarating. This fall, I was determined to set reasonable expectations and a responsible pace for my back-to-school adjustment. I didn't work out three afternoons in a row and I went easier on myself when exhaustion rolled over me. I took Friday afternoons off no mater what. As a consequence, I face the fourth week of school without the need to self-diagnose my exhaustion.
I think this sort of self-awareness is called being a grown-up.