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Lost that Summer Feeling?

You lost…that summer feeling…whoa-oh that summer feeling
You lost…that summer feeling…now it’s gone, gone, gone
Whooooaaaa-oh…

Even though summer is now officially on its last legs, I am going to try to keep the relaxed feeling of it as long as I can! Though I won’t be able to take hour-long lunches with friends or wander freely through Boston during daylight hours, I’m preparing a list of small things that keep life fun (inspired by Math Teacher Mambo).

1) Cook dinner at least twice a week. I’ve tried to do the “cook it all on Sunday” routine, but cooking relaxes me, so I prefer to spread it out throughout the week. Bonus: if I put on an episode of Chopped while I cook, I feel like a fancy chef even if I’m not trying to concoct an appetizer from peanut butter cookies, bacon, and purple potatoes.

2) Make plans with a friend at least once a week. During my first few years of teaching, it became oh-so-easy to say no to plans out with friends during weekdays. After all, wasn’t I supposed to spend all my waking hours lesson planning, freaking out, or chugging coffee? I will schedule in movie dates (chick flick Mondays at the Boston Common theater or Somerville Theatre), yoga classes, and running with my friends.

3) Read e-books on the T. I now have an iPad, and it’s revolutionized my reading. With the Overdrive app and my Boston Public Library card, I can now have up to 10 e-books on my iPad at once…for free! My students think I’m cuckoo for not always driving to school, but I enjoy the T rides. In the car, I can’t lose myself in the mystical world of A Discovery of Witches or learn how habits can be changed in The Power of Habit. I also love to walk through Beacon Hill and the Public Garden on the way to school…it’s much more relaxing than driving through traffic on I-93.

4) Make nice breakfasts at home. Last year, I made a habit of grabbing the same Starbucks breakfast sandwich and grande Guatemala Santa Catalina Clover coffee every day. This put me in a carb coma and made me hungry again at 10:00 a.m., put a strain on my wallet, and made me cranky because I felt rushed every day. Well that’s because I was–timing my T ride and walk to appear at the Charles St Starbucks exactly at 7:20 a.m. made the morning rushed and stressful. Taking the time to pack my bag, set out my outfit, and prep materials for breakfast in the evenings allows me to enjoy a homemade iced green tea latte and a variety of breakfasts (e.g., steel-cut oats, egg scrambles, roasted sweet potatoes, or smoothies).

5) Take a deep breath and say a mantra. It’s amazing how much a deep breath can help when one feels stressed. Maybe we just forget to breathe. My mantra is “everything’s going to be okay.” I like Math Teacher Mambo’s “It’s going to be great. It’s going to work out fine” as well. One of my old mentors used to imagine herself as the queen of her classroom and repeat “I am tough. I am strong. I own this” every morning…I may take that one too!

6) Prettify. I can live without the trendiest clothes or schmanciest haircuts, but sometimes I recharge by getting a mani-pedi or my eyebrows done. I feel a lot more put together that way!

What small things make you happy?

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