Tomorrow I will start teacher workshops for my 16th school year. I am very excited to see my colleagues again and get ready for another group of students to walk into my classroom. (Should probably get those bulletin boards ready….) I have never been this relaxed and prepared to start a school year and the credit goes to the Summer of ME.
The Summer of ME started on June 6th. I published my thoughts for the world to see and launched this blog. I really had no idea what to expect and truthfully, kind of threw it out there just to see what would happen. I did not expect my summer to go the way it has. I would classify it as one of the best summers ever. I was able to accomplish so much more than in the past, simply by focusing a little bit on me. Giving myself permission to have some time, put me in a better place to do what I can for all of the other people in my life. Here is a recap of my areas of focus…….
Part 1: Creating better habits for myself.
I have found so much joy and relaxation in walking. Not walking to lose weight, but simply walking to find balance. The girls have also come a long way and I don’t have to beg to get them to walk with me like I did in at the beginning of the summer. ( Walking….who knew???!!!! ) Obviously, the benefits of walking are well documented, but I never actually allowed myself the time to do it or make a commitment to it. Now it has become part of my life and I will make a conscious effort to fit it in at some point during my day, even if it is at lunch, right Monica???!!
Healthy eating is a much bigger challenge. I want to eat FOOD!! All of the time!! I struggle with making good choices. If there are cookies, I want some. If there are chips, I want some. If there is Tator Tot Hotdish, I want some. You get the point. Portion control is where I found the most success because I don’t want to deny myself and feel restricted. I have had successes and failures, but I know when school starts it will get better because I simply won’t have time to stand in the kitchen and ponder what I should eat.
Part 2: Regaining control of my house.
Stuff everywhere…….. My exact feelings at the beginning of the summer. While I still see stuff around my house, we have done a really good job of decluttering it. We donated many things to Dakota Boys Ranch, gave some stuff we had outgrown to friends and sold some things on the swap and shop. We decluttered the mudroom closet and the pantry. Both of which had not been given much attention since we moved into our house and actually still look pretty good. While I did not get to my entire master closet yet, I did donate a garbage bag full of clothes I had not worn in who knows how long. Taking that small amount of time to go through my clothes actually made a huge dent. Now I have enough hangers for all of our clothes, at all times. Still a lot of work to do, but progress is always a good thing. My house does not stress me out as it did at the beginning of summer. Plus as the girls go back to school, they simply will not be here as much to make a mess. Bonus for part 2!!!!
Part 3: Reconnecting with my family and friends.
At the end of the school year, I did not feel happy. I was stressed out and felt like I needed to scream all the time. My children and husband were getting the short end of the stick. I was a grump-a-lump when I got home from school. Then I would feel guilty because I felt this way, even though I am so blessed in my life. Having this summer allowed us to walk, talk, go to the lake, road trip on our anniversary and so many more memories I will cherish forever. After all of our wonderful time together, I am more relaxed and ready to enter a new school year. They have reminded me everyday how lucky I am, which gives me the energy to try to be something positive for my students and my family.
Now that I am in a happier place, I have a whole new set of goals for the fall, personally and professionally, in and out of education. I have felt lucky to live in a place with seasons for a long time, so with this new season, comes a new focus. I am going to call it ME Fall, so look for it soon!! It is a challenge, in and of itself, to devote time to think about yourself. But you are wonderful people with busy and chaotic lives, you all deserve to think about yourselves for a little each day. True, you may not get it everyday, but giving yourself a little bit of time will help create a better, more patient you.
Challenge Time!! If you did not join the Summer of ME, now is your time!! Are you completely happy? If you look around your world, what is something you could focus on for the next chunk of time to make you happier and better. I will share my goals in ME Fall, a post coming soon. Please think about your areas of focus. Share them with us. A community is only strong if you invest in it. It is one of the best things to come out of the Summer of ME. Your support has been amazing and I feel like I can accomplish so much more in my life with you coming along side me. I will offer the same support to you. Engaging with these posts helps all of us feel connected and not alone. So send us your comments, build the community and get ready for another great season trying to find balance in our lives.
Talk to you soon,