Why I went from a twenty-year career in education to working as a barista…

Teacher burnout is real, yo!

More than 41% of teachers leave the profession within five years of starting… I can tell you that I wanted out of the profession before my five-year mark. Instead, I continued to teach, trying to find loopholes to have a reprieve in order to mentally and physically recuperate. I continued the fight day after day, year after year, always hoping things would get better.

Teachers who do an excellent job are often working in unsustainable conditions (e.g., 60 hours per week, relentless stress, inadequate resources, lack of support or time, etc.) (Herman, 2014).”

 I resigned in February.

I needed time to take care of myself and my family. Teaching wasn’t allowing that.

There are other paths I am pursuing, but I also need to get a paycheck in order for my family to keep our house. Any paycheck isn’t acceptable at this point in my life, though; I no longer want to risk my mental healthIf something is in my control to improve my mental health…or prevent a mental downturn…I need to take it. That definitely is choosing how I earn a paycheck.

Paths Crossed

I met a lovely lady at a Mardi Gras brunch this year. After visiting briefly, I learned that she and her husband were opening a coffee shop not far from where I live. It wasn’t until this past week, though, when I learned of a particular position they were needing to fill that I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I’m a morning person…the only one in my little family. This position doesn’t include working weekends, and my eight-hour day ends at 1:00pm.


There’s still enough hours to make doctor appointments and run errands while offices are still open…no need to take a day off to get things done.

I also get to go home…and spend my time the way I want to (which does not include grading essays, writing lessons, catching up on paperwork and parent contact, etc.)

It’s my time. I can be a mom and wife and writer and dream-maker.


I get to wear jeans every single day. If you’ve ever been a teacher, you know just how golden this is.

Do I miss my students?

Hell, yes. The connections I’ve made with them have been tremendously important in my life. Continuing to work with teens in some capacity is equally important…which is why I’m in the process of launching an online platform for teens’ writing regarding issues they face in today’s world.

For now, I will be one of the “shiny happy people” who greet you with a smile and help you start your day with the perfect cuppa joe.

Coffee Love

Perhaps one day I’ll even be able to make a cup for self-proclaimed coffee snob, Jeff Goins.

As he’s said before, “Ever since a semester in Spain, I’ve had a lustful love affair with that dark drink.”

He also says, “Coffee has incredible powers. It has the ability to jumpstart our day and spark amazing conversations with people. In fact…there is more superpower in a coffee mug than meets the eye.”

So, as I pursue my passions and side hustles (with the assistance of Jeff and tribe), I will also be helping others pursue theirs by starting their day with coffee and a smile.

Continue reading “Why I went from a twenty-year career in education to working as a barista…”

You Can Cultivate Personal Happiness

…whether or not you have depression.

You can’t choose happiness…

…no matter how many memes say that you canYou can’t choose your feelings…they just are. However, you can choose how you react, and you can choose to cultivate happiness.

When suffering in the depths of depression, happiness isn’t just out of reach…it’s out of sight. The light of happiness cannot be seen. This can be a dangerous and scary time. It’s important to know that life has the capacity to change. Unfortunately, I can tell you from my own experiences, I didn’t believe that it could. You can change your life, though, through the desire to change and through attaining appropriate help. We can’t snap our fingers and be okay. If we want to get better, we have to work to get better.

I’m there now.

I attend psychotherapy. I take my medications. I’m more attuned to my thoughts and feelings. I can tell when my mind is beginning to spiral if I don’t do something about it. And, I can create happiness for myself. I no longer have to struggle simply to make it through the day. I can truly enjoy the day.

One way I create happiness within my life is to make time for a hobbyA hobby, by definition, is an activity pursued for pleasure. I’ve dabbled in many activities to determine which ones I like the most.

I’ve tried geocaching with my son (so much fun, but I’m allergic to everything on God’s green earth).

I’ve tried advanced coloring books for adults (fun, but I quickly became bored). 

I’ve tried board games…and love it. It’s so much fun with my family; in fact, we currently own three versions of Monopoly…my favorite being Big Bang Theory Monopoly.

I also love to write.

Oftentimes, it’s simply journaling. Occasionally, it’s tackling various types of poetryOf course, writing for my blogMedium, and other online platforms has become my favorite pastime, as is reading. I’ve recently finished reading Willpower Doesn’t Work. I plan to blog aboutit, as well, so be on the lookout.

Hobbies spark personal happiness.

They provide relaxation in the midst of physical and mental activity and cultivate a good habit rather than a bad one. That spark becomes emblazoned through increased confidence and self-esteem, and we become more closely connected to others, as well, through conversations about our hobbies or sharing in them with others.

Hobbies have the power to change a negative mood into a positive one.

Endless hobbies wait to be sampled. Try out a few.

What about leather crafting or calligraphy? Gardening? Cooking or baking? Fishing? Hiking? Scrapbooking? Genealogy? Origami? Dancing? Vlogging? Photography?

“Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake.Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” ~Dale Carnegie


→What is one way you are cultivating your happiness today?

Copyright © 2018 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.

Keeping Your Emotions in Check

There is strength in understanding your emotions.

I haven’t always been able to trust my own thoughts and feelings.

I’ve had staunch thoughts and feelings on a particular matter, and a week later they’d already be irrelevant because my thoughts and feelings have done a 180 flip (or flop). Confounding. How can my perception completely shift? Bipolar has this capability. Continue reading “Keeping Your Emotions in Check”

It’s a Laughing Matter

Take Laughing Seriously.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. e. e. cummings

I used to think that a day without chocolate is a day wasted, but I’ve come around to agreeing with e.e. cummings. Consider a day without a genuine smile and laughter. What does that leave us? Sadness, depression, or even complete apathy.

Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. ~William Goldman in Princess Bride.

Continue reading “It’s a Laughing Matter”