I have been thinking about how do I stay motivated and focused for the last few months of school. What do I do to keep my energy up? Having three children myself (ages 1 year, 3 years and 5 years), as well as teaching full-time, life is full. How do I take care of myself too?
Here is a list of my top 15 ideas and tips:
#15: Music - It is amazing how putting on some uplifting music can help me feel more energetic, alive and inspired. I now keep my iphone in my pocket and will put on the music at the beginning of the day in the classroom, while I am cleaning up the house with my kids etc.
#14: Walk with a friend - Sometimes after school, I will take a walk around the block with a friend. Yes, I then have 10 or 15 fewer minutes to plan and grade. On the other hand, I return refreshed and focused. On top of that, talking with a friend helps me relax.
#13: Getting a massage - My health plan covers massage. I didn't know that for the whole first 3 years I was on it. It also covers acupuncture. I try to schedule something once a month or so.
#12: 10 minute power nap - I put on the timer and take a rest. I will admit that every once in a while I even do this in the classroom during my lunch break. (Having a blanket in a cupboard makes this so much more comfortable!) A 10 minute rest can do wonderful for my energy level.
#11: Fruit smoothie - One of my favorite smoothies is frozen berries, water, protein powder and cranberry juice. A little healthy pick me up can do wonders. This is actually what I have for breakfast every single morning. It takes less than 3 minutes to make and gets me a few servings of fruit before 7 am.
#10: Dream about next year - I'm not sure why, but sometimes thinking about all of the fun things I plan on doing next year with my class gets my energy up.
#9: Plants - I love buying plants. All it takes is a $5 plant from the grocery store on my desk to make me a very happy person.
#8: 3 Minute Exercise Break - I do the plank position for 30 - 90 seconds. (I am around 40 seconds now, but I started at 10 seconds!) And then I do the wall sit for another minute. I stretch and feel fabulous. It takes under three minutes. I don't have to change my clothes and I feel great.
#7: Eat a cup of microwaved frozen spinach with an egg over easy on top - Protein, greens and health. What is not to love about that?
#6: Read a trashy magazine - I go to the store and buy something like People magazine and devour it.
#5: Turn off the TV, radio and especially the news - Life actually won't change if you take a media break for a few days, a week or more. I actually stopped watching TV (except for one trashy show a week) about 15 years ago. I don't miss it a bit. But, it can be great to take a break from the radio news and the newspaper at times.
#4: Take a bath - Before going to bed, run a nice bath. Add some bubbles or some aromatherapy. Ten minutes makes all the difference in the world.
#3: Write a thankful journal entry - Write three things that I am thankful for that have occurred recently in my life. Thinking about the positive makes me feel happy, refreshed and alive.
#2: Snuggle with my kids - Sit in bed, laugh, giggle, be silly and just act like a kid. It doesn't get much better than this!
#1: Smile - If all else fails, I just breathe in and relax my body. I breathe out and smile. Sometimes putting a smile on my face can light up my day.
Online classes I offer for teachers through HOL.edu:
RENEWING OURSELVES & OUR TEACHING
FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: From Stress to Success
ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT
SAVE TIME: Time Management for Your Teaching & Your Life