It’s that time of year again, school days are closing in on us fast. I just came across an article aimed at teachers about 4 things they shouldn’t do at the end of Summer break. First, I thought to myself, most of these tips are applicable to students themselves. Second, I thought I’d expand on the idea and write a post aimed at students myself.
Some schools have already started – I was aghast to see some of our local public schools started the 1st week of August! But both my kids’ school and my uni don’t open for classes until August 27th, so I’m going to go with the assumption that the majority of us have just over two weeks left to prepare for the school year.
1. At this point, about two weeks out, you should have all your school shopping done. At least the majority of it. By this time your school supply tax free days are likely over for your state, and with the sheer amount of things you need for school… well, that shopping is more of a headache than it is worth at the end of the summer. At this point, I suggest, having only small odds and ends left to pick up at most… and possibly still some school clothes if you are keeping an eye out for sale/clearance items still.
2. The last two weeks of break you should not be overloading on activities. Take a break, a true break. Hopefully throughout the Summer you’ve had time to just relax, but lets be honest – few of us really do. As adults or teens we work at minimum part time if not more. We run around on vacations – getting jet lagged or travel weary. We do yard work, we have play dates… Plenty of things to keep us busy. These last couple of weeks, take the time to really unwind. Stay at home and do next to nothing. Be lazy as much as you can. If you work, at all I’m not suggesting you slack off from there 😉 But limit all other unnecessary busy-ness so your brain can be relaxed as possible before starting in on the busy-ness of the school year.
3. As the teacher’s article suggested having their classroom already setup and ready to go before now, so should the student have their office/bedroom/study space ready to go by now. I am lucky enough to have been able to create my own private office space, but younger teens/kids are more likely using a desk in their room or a common shared space. Have your desk organized the way you like it, have all the home supplies you need in place… It’s just one less thing to worry about as the school year nears.
If you do not have a special place in your home for this, and you use the family dining table or sit in the living room – consider having a designated box or tote to hold your items in the corner of the room or in your bedroom for as needed.
As a side note, my daughter does have a desk in her room, but we also have tote boxes in the dining room for both of my kids with their names on it that hold their backpacks and other school items throughout the year. Currently it is filled with the supplies they will be taking to school with their new backpacks. Once school starts, it will hold their backpacks and school books or folders each day when they come home. If you too do something to this effect, consider this a part of getting the study spaces ready.
4. This one is a simultaneous should/should not. The teacher article suggests not counting down to the beginning of the school year… I say this one depends on you. Do not do this if you dread the school year starting…. but you should TOTALLY do this if you are excited for school to start! I am super stoked, personally, to have my nursing classes start AND have my kids back in school… so T Minus 17 days, y’all!!
5. You should be done organizing and cleaning, in general. By this I mean, don’t wait to do another Spring clean until next Spring. Do a follow up deep-clean in mid-Summer, and get your house/room organized along with your study space so that by this time you can get on with the relaxing. The next few weeks should be reserved for only basic, maintenance cleaning… The day to day stuff that can’t be avoided like dishes and laundry etc. Another one less thing to worry about as school starts.
I’m a bit behind on this myself, if I’m honest. I’ve been making strides… but I also have two young kids to contend with! So I’ll be cutting it close to the 2 week mark, but I plan on getting all my carpets and furniture steam-cleaned next week after I’m done my stretch of work I’m currently on… with the brand new steam-cleaner my husband bought me! (You have no idea how much I’ve missed having one of my own!!)
6. You should not worry over past mistakes or issues and let it color how you view the upcoming school year. So, you failed that class last year? This year go in with the plan to not let that happen again. Build strategies to help you be successful in that class, and all others, this year. So you had conflicts with particular classmates or teachers last year? This year be optimistic that things will be different, and again build strategies ahead of time. Speak to a parent or professional if you need help with any serious issues such as bullying ahead of time or if you need tips on maintaining interpersonal relationships. If you have the ability, you can also make sure to avoid taking classes with those certain people if necessary. Go in to this next year with a positive attitude, it could do you wonders!
7. You should treat yourself. Soon, you will be in the full swing of the busiest part of the year. Take time to not only relax, but do some self care. Whether it’s just getting yourself some cheap bath salts or Mr Bubble Bubbles and taking a relaxing bath or whether you have the cash to do something more like getting a massage or a mani/pedi…. Now is the time to do it! Well, you can do it during the year too… I’m all about advocating the self care all the time. But now is the time to get yourself in the right frame of mind as you prepare for the last third of the year. Need tips? Take some alone time to go shopping for something special, even if it’s just fun school accessories. Take the time to read that book you’ve been meaning to get around to (no time like the present to get some pleasure reading done – soon you’ll only have time mostly for academic reading.) Or take a break from your diet, just this once, to treat yourself to your favorite dessert.
8. Whether you are a healthy eater or not already, make sure your diet is in check. You should not be eating crap. I know I tend to eat even worse during the Summer, well… I eat like crap when I’m busy during the school year too… I mean… Fast Food does seem like a heaven send when you are busy all the time. But in the Summer I give in to ice cream much more readily and if I’m on vacation I reason away my bad eating choices by saying “I’m on vacation!” and wanting to experience all the gastro delights I may not have easy access to where I live.
When considering your self care, go ahead and have that special dessert …but then otherwise really taking care of yourself includes nourishing your body. You will need the energy that a good diet will give you once the hectic schedule starts up again. Take these two weeks to jump start a new diet or get back to your pre-Summer eating habits.
9. Around about now you should be moving towards a school-year sleeping schedule. This is assuming that you’ve let yourself fall into an erratic Summer sleep schedule – this will apply mainly to the kids… But, heck, I’m totally on an erratic schedule myself as I only work every other weekend, in general, and the shifts change occasionally from day to evening… So I have definitely been acting like an adolescent and sleeping in as much as I can this Summer. Since I didn’t have to get my kids up at a certain time in the AM and I stopped working PT at their school… I have no reason not to!
Around the 2 – 3 week mark I advise that you slowly start adjusting your schedule. You don’t need to be at full school-night schedule until about a week out. If it works for you, you can probably push that to half a week prior to first day of school. For now, though, slowly adjust by a half hour here and an hour there. Take your time adjusting and it will be easier on you overall.
10. If you can avoid it at all, you should not be making any major life changes right before the school year starts. Sometimes these are unavoidable, but if you know you are going to have to move, for example, try to do it a little earlier in the Summer so that you have at minimum one week of rest time, self care time, etc and you won’t be exhausted or frazzled as school starts – or soon after. It also sucks for your kids if they have to suddenly change school districts right before school starts, and it sucks even more for them if they have to start a semester at one school and then swap schools before the end of the year. Again, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do – but if you have the ability to dictate the changes occurring middle to early Summer, you should really consider it. It really does take the stress off.
So, that concludes my tips for finishing off your Summer Break on a good footing. Is there anything you think I missed? Anything you particularly agree/disagree with? Let me know in the comments below!