I have mixed feelings about “Back to School”. I hate the end of summer. Summer is my favorite season. I love the long, warm, carefree days, where there’s no homework or lunches to pack or bed times to police. But I also like the excitement of a new school year and all that comes with it, the regularity of a schedule, the sense of the school community, extra-curricular activities and the introduction of new material and learnings. (And I like having my house to myself, since I primarily work from home and EVERYONE is home during the summer, my husband is a teacher, it’s nice to get “my” quiet work space back).
It’s also fun to get new school supplies. I remember as a little girl being so excited to get a new backpack and lunchbox (I had a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs metal lunch box with a spinner game on the back). As my kids get older the thrill of new school supplies has worn off and so they laugh at me every year over my enjoyment of “treating” myself to a brand-new box of crayons. (They are only .50!!) I love new crayons, their sharp tip and crisp fresh box. It’s my traditions and my one personal “Back to School” supply item.
Besides getting all our materials and supplies ready, which is necessary in preparing for the new school year, I also think about what else we need to help us be successful. Are we emotionally and mentally ready for the new year? Do we have those kind of “school supplies” ready and packed into our school bag? What are some things you need to help you have a year that is balanced, healthy and self-protective vs draining, exhausting and stressful?
Let’s look our self-care supply list:
ü Planner– Think through what you can and cannot comfortably commit yourself too. It’s ok to say “no” to some things, try not to over extend yourself and your schedule. Plan to take a lunch away from your desk or take a walk with your colleague sometime during the week. Find a way to squeeze in a few minutes of quiet time for yourself throughout the day.
ü Highlighters-What are some of your strengths that you can tap into and build on this year. What can you highlight about yourself, your talents, your skills, and your expertise? Keep those things in mind during tough times.
ü Ruler (or protractor)-Measure how much energy you are going to spend this year and determine the circumstances in which you are willing to expend it (when, where, with whom and on what). Somethings don’t need our focus or attention or require only a little of it, then we can move on. No need to over think things.
ü Post-Its-Do you have affirmations or uplifting quotes or mantras ready and available as positive reminders. Consider keeping those reassurances at your desk or where ever you will see it frequently throughout the day.
ü Erasers (or White-out)-Are there things you should let go of, forget, erase from your memory? No need to hold on to past mistakes or disappointments. Each day is a new day, a fresh start. Be gracious with yourself and others around you.
There may be other items you could include on this list and I hope you do. The intention is to encourage you to have a positive perspective about yourself (and others). I hope you see your value and worth and make a concerted effort to prioritize your needs and wants as you head into a new school year. You work hard and give of yourself professionally like very few do in our society. You deserve to be and feel taken care of. I believe it doesn’t take much to share love with others and yourself. If you are prepared and mindful you can find ways to preserve and/or rejuvenate your energy so you are able to completely and fully give again and again as the school year proceeds (and as the novelty wears off).
I hold great anticipation for this upcoming year and the impact these and other self-care strategies can have on you! Here’s to a great healthy and happy school year!