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6 Things to Do for Yourself Before Heading Back to School

Meghan Mathis


I must look at my August calendar at least once a day in sheer disbelief. Where did summer go? 

I swear it was a week ago that I was packing my family up for our annual late-June beach trip. My July birthday was like, yesterday, wasn’t it?

So why am I getting emails from my colleagues asking if I want to coordinate days to come in and work on getting our classrooms set up for the new year? Why is my principal asking me to come in to review class rosters and plan back to school activities? What’s going on?!?

OK, like so many other teachers, I am facing the reality that summer is swiftly coming to a close and soon we will be back in our classrooms.

But before that happens, here is my list of things you really should try to do for yourself before dedicating the rest of your break to getting everything ready for your students and brainstorming the requisite back to school activities

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Clean Your Closet

I know, I know, I sound like your mother – but seriously, she’s right on this one. Take one day at least to get something in your house organized that you know you’ll never get to during the school year.

Maybe it isn’t your closet, maybe it’s your pantry, laundry room, the kids’ toys or your office: But whatever it is, take the time to get it in order now. Your school-year self will thank you for it later!

Pamper Yourself

Get a mani-pedi or a massage (or both!), go have lunch with a pal, see a summer movie and eat popcorn with extra butter, sleep in and then stay in bed even longer after you wake up reading a book. Do whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. Make it your back-to-school gift to yourself and your way to mentally prepare yourself for the job ahead.

Make Those Annoying Doctors’ Appointments

I hate having to write lesson plans for times when I’m only going to be gone for half of the school day. Why not take the time to meet with the doctor now, when scheduling is so much easier, than trying to ask for time off when the school year starts?

Prepare Some Meals in Advance

Back-to-school night sneaks up on me every year and leaves me scrambling to get dinner on the table for my family before I have to head back to school for the event. This year, I’m trying something new. Next week, I’m going to spend an afternoon cooking several different meals and meal components that I can freeze for fast preparation during the school year.

Sloppy Joes, taco meat, spaghetti sauce, chili, and several other freezable recipes are all on the list. Search Pinterest and other sites for some excellent inspiration on meals that freeze well so that you won’t be left scrambling on nights when you have to stay at school late.

Start Getting Your Sleep Schedule Back on Track

If you’ve made a habit of staying up later and sleeping in over the past few weeks – good for you! Seriously, way to enjoy your break! But with early school mornings fast approaching, it makes sense to start slowly retraining your body to go to bed and wake a little earlier each morning. Getting back into the swing of school is challenging enough without your body feeling like it hasn’t gotten enough rest!

Say Good-Bye to Summer in Style

Spend an evening enjoying the best this season has to offer so you’ll be able to know you fully appreciated it when you’re trudging into work in snow boots. Grill some seasonal veggies, burgers, hot dogs, brats, chicken outdoors and invite some friends to share them with you. Drink lemonade on your front porch as you watch the sun go down. Help your children catch fireflies.  Make s’mores. Have a picnic. Have fun!

Hopefully, you are finding yourself getting excited about a brand new school year – and there is a lot to look forward to! But before you step back into your classroom, plan your back to school activities and greet your new students, take these last few days to enjoy your break and get yourself ready to face the 2013-2014 school year. Good luck!

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