Back-to-school season is more than a date on the calendar; even if you are an empty nester, you can celebrate this back-to-school time of year.
Think back to when you had kids to get ready for back to school, or even when you were a kid. The novelty of the laid-back summertime is starting to wear off and we are craving a more structured routine. Even grown-ups can take advantage of the reasons we love this time of year. Here are 11 reasons to love back to school even if you are an empty nester (in no particular order)!
- Set up your “locker”, aka desk, workspace, or office. Completely clean off your work area and start over with the most efficient layout. Your most often used supplies and electronics should be easily accessible and at eye level. Get rid of clutter and the almost used-up notebooks and sticky notes with no sticky left.
2. Buy new back-to-school supplies, especially while they are on sale. Get rid of the random pens that you have collected, (most of which you don’t like or don’t write well), and replace them with a package of your favorites. Grab some fresh, new notebooks and file folders that look nice together. Re-plenish paper clips, scotch tape, scissors, and anything else that you are always digging for.
3. Switch to an Academic Year Planner– these planners, August through July, are not just for teachers and students. Traditional year planners are not always the most efficient for planning your year. At the end of December, you are exhausted from the holidays, and in the first week or two of January you are most likely taking down the decorations and trying to organize your tax receipts. In June or July, you have more time for dreaming and planning.
4. Update your uniform pieces. School uniforms are a brilliant idea to make mornings more efficient without the meltdown from the kids, (I have NOTHING to wear!), or from mom, (you are not wearing THAT!). Chances are, you wear some version of the same thing every day. Stock up on your favorite tees, jeans, skirts, etc. Buy more than one of your favorite go-to pieces.
5. Quick and easy lunches. Whether you prep the night before or in the morning, having a balanced, healthy lunch ready to go at noon is good for you and encourages you to take a break. You can even get a fancy bento box to make it feel special.
6. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen for a while. Set up a coffee date, a phone call, or even a Zoom meeting with a group if you are far away from each other.
7. Get on a schedule. By scheduling your days, including short recesses and a lunch break, your days will be much more productive. Just like “school nights”, try to get to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day. Have a morning routine so you can “start” your day with a good breakfast and have a set beginning and ending time for your work time.
8. Use time blocks and allow a quick break before moving on to the next class. For example, check your email at the same time every day and block off however long it usually takes you. That goes on your daily schedule. You may want to read for an hour, work for a couple of hours daily on a project from your list, spend time learning a new skill, etc. Put your tasks into categories and block off time in your daily routine to work on a particular category. Set a timer and get up to stretch for a few minutes between blocks of time to switch mental gears.
9. Plan breaks and vacations on your annual calendar. Schedule these as you plan out your year or they tend to not happen. Hint: destinations are less crowded and less expensive if you DON’T schedule them when schools are on break!
10. Add PE (Physical Education) to your routine. Move every day, and move more a few days/ week. Do something physical that you enjoy and be happy you are no longer tested on climbing a knotted rope or how many chin-ups you can do.
11. Keep learning! Learn a new skill, a new hobby, start a new business or take a class. Everything is figure-out-able. If there is something you don’t know how to do, you can learn it!
As summer winds down and Labor Day approaches, make the most of the routines and habits that the new school year brings each year. It’s a fresh start and re-set that we all could use.
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