school self-care

back-to-school lifesavers

Well, here we go – school starts tomorrow and I’ll have 130-ish new teenagers to get to know in the next few months! I am actually pretty excited to get the school year going, as I’ve made a lot of positive changes in myself personally and professionally. However, it’s also the beginning of the end of free time and sanity for the next 10 months, so there is definitely quite a bit of anxiety at play as well. I do not have children of my own, so I’m sure it’s much less hectic than it could be, but going from doing work at my own pace for probably 10-20 hours per week during the summer to consistently putting in 55-60 hours per week is a pretty big adjustment. I figured I’d take a few minutes to share some of the things I do and habits I’ve formed (or am trying to form) to keep myself sane during the school year.

One thing I am pretty good at year-round is meal planning and (a lighter version of) meal prepping. On Saturdays, I go through the Harris Teeter sale ads in my email, look at what we already have in stock, and plan out our dinners for the following week. I keep these plans in a Google doc, and add each week before the last. I use Google Docs because I can embed links to any online recipes I want to use, instead of worrying about trying to find it again several days later. I shop at HT because it’s the closest to my house, and I find that when I shop mostly sale items, I can keep myself to a decent budget. I then figure out what I want to eat for lunch during the week – Chris usually eats leftovers, but for me it depends on what we’re having, as I’m not a big leftover person. Sometimes I will make a big batch of something like chili, egg roll in a bowl, or pasta to divide up for the week’s lunches. Other weeks, I make sandwiches or pack finger foods like cheese and crackers. I get about 20 minutes to eat between when my students leave and when they start to trickle back, so I need things that don’t require a lot of assembly. I grocery shop early on Sunday mornings, so it’s not too crowded and I can get in and out quickly!

Another thing I have found to be extremely helpful is picking out my clothes for the week ahead of time. I usually do this on Sunday evenings, while I’m winding down and mentally preparing myself for a busy week. I bought a cheap clothing rack at Ikea a couple years ago, and made dividers for each weekday. I look at the weather forecast, keep in mind if I have anything different going on at school, and pick out outfits for each day (at least Monday-Thursday, as I usually wear jeans and a school t-shirt on Fridays). I tend to be incredibly indecisive, especially when I’m super tired at 5am, so this has proven to be a huge time saver!

I’m also trying to work out consistently again, which right now consists of training for an 8K race next month. I have a training schedule I found online that I have been following, which was easy to do when I could get up and run in the cooler mornings. Once school starts, I refuse to push my wake-up time any earlier (5am is already too early!), so I run in the afternoons. This time of year, it is HOT in the afternoons, so I am planning on stopping by my neighborhood’s cardio gym to run on the treadmill for my 2 weekday runs per week. In order to make sure I do this, I take workout clothes and running shoes to work, and change before I leave. That way, I just stop on my way home – I know if I stop at home to change, I’ll never go back out!

The one other thing I started this summer that I am trying to be more consistent with is bullet journaling. Check out if you’d like to know a little more about the idea of a bullet journal. I will eventually write a whole post on this if I am able to keep up with it – it was super helpful with keeping track of my tasks over the summer, and I love how flexible the system can be. You can really make it your own, so it is the best organizational system for you. I created and printed my own planner for school, but I need something that will house all of my non-work appointments and responsibilities as well. So far, so good – even though I skipped last week, oops! Hopefully I will be able to keep up with it during the school year!

Well, that’s all I can think of for now – let me know in the comments if you do anything that would be helpful this crazy time of year! I hope you all have a fantastic week!


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