Maybe I’m overly optimistic. Seventeen years in, and somehow I have not yet found the answer for surviving September. Like many parents and teachers, the start of the school year is often the time to set resolutions and goals for the year. As summer closes, each year, my well rested mind somehow knows that ‘this year will be different’. With good intention, I convince myself that THIS will be the year…. the year that I plan meals in advance, the year that I prep lunch foods on Sunday, the year that I wake up refreshed, gracefully finding a work / life balance, the year that I read more, spend more time outside, attend my kids events, sleep better, laugh with friends, practice yoga, eat healthy, drink more water, live in the present, and embrace each opportunity with an open mind and creative spirit. Yes, each August, I ‘know’ that THIS will be the year.
And then something happens… this unexpected storm called September rolls in and knocks me off my feet into a head spinning furry. By mid month those nicely planned lunches are a thing of the past and living in the present means “GET IN THE CAR NOW!” The dream of downward dog and a collective ‘OM’s in a yoga practice has somehow been replaced with collective OMG’s as we race to soccer practice and wonder if anyone even remembered to feed the dog. As I walk through the hallways at school with a look of perplexity I share knowing looks with my equally drained colleagues. We laugh and say ‘I had promised this year would be different’. With bewilderment I wonder… How on earth did I catch a cold so fast? Why do I wake myself up at night thinking of work? When exactly will I get back into that fitness routine…
And yet, five minutes from now, I, like all teachers and parents can take a deep breath and smile knowing I survived September. When I wake up, October will have arrived. My optimistic brain dances with images of cold sunny days, happy kids, moments that matter, warm sweaters, Thanksgiving and time to find balance. Maybe, just maybe, I can move back from OMG to the soft sounds of OM.
Suspecting that I may need more than a flip of the calendar to achieve my goals, I reached out through social media tonight to seek words of advice and tricks of the trade from parents and educators. Here are some of the great tips that I received to survive and thrive in the next 9 months of the school year:
- Grocery shop online and have it delivered (I am looking forward to trying this!)
- Set a meal plan for the week and buy all the groceries before the week begins (ah – a re-set to my good intentions)
- Take time for ourselves. Every day.
- Take at least a five minute lunch break rather than eating on the run
- Get outside each day (the forecast looks like I have a second chance to enjoy great weather)
- Beer. Chicken Wings.
- More Starbucks (I like this idea)
- Exercise and body breaks to keep your body fit and mind positive (OK Carmela – I’m coming back to boot camp)
- Make lunches while prepping dinner (good tip – I will try this too!)
- Take out menus on hand for emergency days. (works well with my cooking abilities)
- Spread chores throughout the week so that the weekend isn’t full of cleaning duties.
- Marry someone who can empathize well. (luckily my husband worked in schools for years)
- Slow down curriculum and connect with staff and students. Get to know each other as people and find strengths in relationships (love this!)
- Laugh and find humour amidst the chaos
- Check the backpacks right away for notices and homework to avoid those stressful hours before bed time
- Take time to be with family and enjoy our great weather.
Thank you everyone for your great ideas. Please share yours too if you would like to add to the list. I can now turn out the lights, take a deep breath and welcome a new month believing again that balance is possible. Happy October everyone!