Certain things just make you feel better when nothing else will… making your bed on Saturday, wearing lipstick, and putting on pjs the second you get home from work. Some things are more personal and nuanced... like seeing a dove land on your fence, someone bringing you a milkshake, or building a pillow fort out of your embarrassing amount of throw pillows--in your pjs, that you put on the second you got home for work.
As you may have guessed, school has started again. And like many of you educators, students, and parents know… it is the most wonderfully exhausting time of year! Here are Aunt Katie’s Top Ten Tips for Surviving the Back to School Blues…
Fall break is only six weeks away,
Tips for Surviving the Back to School Blues
(1) Make your bed on Saturday.
Really every day, but going to that extra effort on Saturday adds just the tiniest bit of order into your precious, precious free time. Not only is a made bed a blessing to your room, but I firmly believe our hearts grow just a little bit each time we commit to a discipline for a greater good.
(2) Pajamas before 5PM.
Here’s an Aunt Katie secret, some days I get home before 5PM. Many days I get home after 10PM #jechoisistout. One of the great joys of my life is putting on my PJs the second I get home...with my favorite PJ accessory--a glass of wine. Sometimes we just need to set a line of demarcation between the work/school day and the catch-up-on-life/write/force-yourself-to-skip-out-on-a-social-event. Pajamas are an excellent way to insure that you will say “No” to whatever near occasion of FOMO may come calling.
(3) Extra Prayer Time.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux originated the phrase, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” This time of year we tend to get very intentional about taking some prayer time… inevitably that prayer time is interrupted by phone calls, text messages, slacks, students, professors, fellow teachers, children, sleep, netflix, and general tomfoolery. The best way to insure that we don’t miss out on our precious and desperately needed prayer time is to plan more than one prayer time a day! If you miss your first prayer stop, you can always cash in on the second… if you make it to the first, the second is just lagniappe!
(4) Wearing Lipstick (ladies only)… or Shaving the Shadow (men only).
#SelfCare includes actually caring… often we lump self-care in with being totally carefree--extra sleep, fewer showers… but selfcare is also about showing up for life. Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.” While overdressing for you may be jeans and a button down, there is something to be said for wearing lipstick. Something about “making an effort” makes taking on the day a little easier. For my male readers… shave the shadow. I know you think it’s sexy and mysterious, but we know the truth. You’re being lazy. We know. Why do you think we wore jeans on that date? #same
(6) Stress Cooking.
Have you ever viewed cooking as a creative outlet for stress relief? No? You’re missing out. Here are the rules to making this work: (a) Be brave with ingredients and recipe experimentation--ever had bison? Today could be that day. (b) Cook enough to share--people love being surprised with leftovers! (c) Send me your best stress cooking recipes! Mine usually involve a lot of cheese.
(7) Read a book.
I know, I know, you’re already behind on your lesson plans, homework, and lesson-planning homework, but making time for leisure reading is so good for your soul. Whether the reading is some classic fiction that you’ve been meaning to tackle or some spiritual reading to supplement that secondary prayer time you skipped, using time to expand our minds instead of stretching our insta-thumbs on the snapbook, can be great stress relief. Can’t imagine keeping your eyes open that long? Try audiobooks. My subscription to Audible.com is the best monthly charge I incur. On a book budget? Audio homilies are also a great way to expand the heart and mind!
It’s that important. Whether you use the Bedtime function on your iPhone, or just set a bedtime alarm and stick with it--you need the sleep!
The best way to beat the Back to School Blues is laughter. Whether it’s an episode of your favorite show that makes you LOL or spending some QT with the person that makes you ROFWL, take the time to laugh. The internet claims 15 minutes of laughter a day can burn up to 40 calories… which will help with #5.