Week 1 Using the Pact App: I Got Paid to Work Out & Eat Veggies

I have been hearing a lot about this app, and while it has mixed reviews, I wanted to give it a shot myself. This is a review of my first week using the Pact app.

What is the Pact app? Basically, you commit to a certain number of workouts per week, eating a certain number of veggies, or logging your food on MyFitnessPal. There are rules and restrictions, of course, but that is the main gist. If you miss a commitment within that week, you pay a “fine”. The lowest amount is $5. If you make your commitment for the week, you are rewarded a small amount. Payouts begin at $10, but it will take you a while to get there.

How was my first week? It took some time to figure the app out. I had to make sure it recognized my gym location before my workout started and that it detected my movement for a full thirty minutes. Once I got used to working out with my phone on hand, it didn’t bother me all that much. It was a little weird taking photos of my veggies with bites taken out of them, but you have to show you are eating them. I did not get downvoted, which is good. People can upvote or downvote your pics, so make sure they are not blurry, include a full serving of a fruit or vegetable and are not duplicates.

How much did I earn? This is where it gets a little funny and might turn people off. I made a whopping total of $0.21 per workout, so $0.63. For eating my veggies, I made $0.06 per serving, so in total, $0.24. Am I going to get rich quick off of this? Obviously not. But did it motivate me to get my butt to the gym? Yes! Why? While I may only made about $0.80, had I not gone, it would have cost me $5 per workout and $5 per veggie. That’s a lot of money for making a lazy choice and it would not be worth it. I was working out before and not earning any money, so every little bit counts!

Will I continue? For now, yes. Until I run into a problem that becomes inconvenient for my workouts or a customer service issue, I will stick with it. I will admit, it did get my out of bed one morning, where all I wanted to do was hit the snooze button. That $5 on the line really made me panic!

Would you use an app like the Pact to get paid for your workouts?

Need to Move More? Become a Walking Tourist

Looking for a way to get outside more as the warmer weather is greeting us? Why not become a walking tourist in your local area?

A quick Google search prompted me to learn about multiple parks, gardens and hiking trails that are within my city. I did not realize how many trails there are close-by!

What a great way to get moving more, which has been my most current goal, health wise. Now that I have gotten myself back on track with my gym routine, I want to find other ways to keep myself moving. I used to love walking and I was known to walk for hours on a sunny day. Somehow, I lost that after hitting some rough patches.

Knowing that I would not commit to this alone, for sake of it being more fun and interesting when you have a buddy, I begged my friend to join me. Our goal is to become a walking tourist of a different trail each week. We plan to reward ourselves with a coffee date afterwards, once we have stuck to our plan for four weeks. It is nice to have someone to keep you in check for accountability. Plus, it will be a great way to blow off steam.

I am looking forward to getting to know my local surroundings and best of all, it’s a free activity! I’m always looking for inexpensive ways to prevent boredom.

Would you explore your local surroundings as a walking tourist?

Summer Munch Lunches

As the warm weather hits, it seems that my appetite starts to disappear. Goodbye hearty soups, hello light crispy fruits! Since I know it is important for me to regulate my blood sugar and to ensure I continue to eat balanced meals throughout the day, I like to prepare “munch lunches”.

summerlunch

What makes a munch lunch so appealing:

  • You get to eat a variety of small things, which adds interesting flavours
  • They are colourful. Who doesn’t love a visually appealing meal?
  • They are satisfying with out feeling heavy and sustain my apetite
  • They encourage me to eat more fruits and veggies
  • I do not like my food touching and I like dipping things. Munch lunches are great for both of these preferences!
  • They can be a way to control cravings

A munch lunch is not a super creative meal. In fact, anyone can throw one together. The term really just came from Mr. Lolobunny, who says that I look like a rabbit munching away. I just throw together items in my fridge that I do not want to go to waste and then add whatever else I have lying around. They are easily transportable, which is also a plus, because as the warm weather hits, I often bring them to work. It is also one of the many ways I use my silicone baking cups, which I am obsessed with! I found mine at Ikea, where we also recently purchased a ceiling lamp on the ceap.

Some combinations I like:

  • Pretzels, yogurt, fruit/veggies of my choice
  • Trail mix, dark chocolate, peanut butter, apple slices
  • Feta cheese, watermelon, veggies, hummus, crackers
  • Grilled chicken, avocado slices, veggies

Do you have any weird eating habits, like not wanting your foods to touch?

 

Our $15 Ikea Lighting Solution

Now that we have settled into our new apartment, we realized how little we own. Moving multiple times has really caused us to size down on furniture and decorative accents. As we were sitting in the living room one night, we realized that there is no lighting in the living room. Mr. Lolobunny had to take down the only light over the counter area leading into our living room, which served as a cramped dining space to the previous tenants, because it hung too low for him. Cue many head injuries! My landlord happily took it to another tenant, who required a new one.

After browsing various stores, we were shocked at how expensive a floor lamp could be! The cheapest one we found was $30, but it looked like it was made of cheap materials and to be honest, it was ugly. It just reminded me of being a super cheap university student willing to use anything and everything. I’m not one to turn an eye over a low price, but we believe in enjoying the item as well, or else it will get pitched further down the road.

So, off we trekked to Ikea, which for the most part, has treated us well. We make careful selections at Ikea, and they definitely fall within our budget for the time being. We walked all around the lighting section 4 times. Every lamp made us feel as if we were either compromising on price or aesthetics. It was getting really frustrating. $150 for a decent floor lamp? Not happening!

Our frustration led us to other options. We considered decorative string lights, but they actually consume a lot of energy. We looked at smaller table lamps. Unfortunately, our current set up does not accommodate this option well. Our sectional takes up too much space, and while we would love to upgrade to a smaller sofa + armchairs combo, it is not in our priority purchases right now. Which led us to option 3. My husband reminded me that we already had a set up for a hanging ceiling lamp.

That is where we found our price, aligned somewhat within our aesthetics bubble. While it may not have been our first choice, the price tag on our new lamp was marked down from $85 to $19. Maybe that helped shift our aesthetic expectations a little 😉

torna

Upon further investigation, we discovered it was actually marked down to $15. In my cart, you go! My husband also picked up some chains and 2 hooks to mount the light further into the living room. I may or may not have shouted, “let there be light!” as we flicked the switch to test it out.

Voila! A decorative lamp that serves a great purpose and the total cost was less than $25 with the chain/hooks included. Sometimes, you gotta compromise your initial design desires to make way for your wallet.

Another Ikea findSilicone muffin cups for $3! I got a pack of 12. I cannot tell you how long I have been searching for these. It seems they have disappeared from shelves all over. I use them for bento lunches, dipping sauces, storing small items and more!

What is on the top of your priority purchase list?

How Scheduling a Financial Date Can Do Wonders For Your Budget (And Your Marriage!)

One of the most important lessons I have learned in the five+ years Mr. Lolobunny and I have been together is that if we are not on the same page, our life becomes disastrous. I am not saying we have to agree on everything. We are opposites in many ways. However, when it comes to finances, if we are not on the same wave length, the spending and saving could make or break us… but more likely, break us!

time-273857_640In the past, when I was in control of all the finances and we were struggling with some debt in a time when both of us were not making much, I was making the awful choice of prioritizing what was going to get paid and when. Late payments were becoming a habit and it was driving Mr. Lolobunny nuts. It was embarrassing to say we could not afford certain things, so I would try to cleverly make it happen without actually being clever at all. This was four years ago and luckily, I got over myself. I have developed much better habits since then, but it was an adventure to get where I am today.

Our saving grace was to schedule a financial date. A place to meet, in public, where neither party could become upset or raise their voice so we discuss our financial situation calmly and look at it with open eyes. We had to rip the band-aid wide open and expose every dark corner to each other. From our first financial date, Mr. Lolobunny considered ways of increasing his income, while I explained more clearly what our monthly expenses really added up to so we both knew what we were dealing with. In this situation, both of us felt like we were contributing without a rack of guilt.

Part of the fun of a financial date is it involves communicating with each-other outside of the home. We treat it just as seriously as a romantic date. We usually pick a place to get coffee, although sometimes we prepare a picnic and go to a park or find a place with happy hour specials. Since we rarely go on dates, we set aside a small amount of money for this.

We started slowly and let our financial dates develop from there. Before meeting, we always have a goal in mind so that we do not shift our focus. We discuss our current goal and how we will achieve it, our budget or an increase in income, a wish item, a need item and so on. Sometimes, we even call emergency meetings for when one of us feeling overly stressed (ie. me!). I always take notes to remind us of what we discussed and in case we may need to refer back to the numbers.

On our most recent date, I showed my husband a great budgeting tool called CalendarBudget. If you have not used this tool yet, it’s a great one to check out! It is free and allows you to enter your current balance, all your pre-authorized payments, deposits, etc. Then, it will display on a calendar exactly how much will be in your account each day until your next pay. I love this because it gives me a visual way of tracking our spending. I can schedule in my budget for gas, groceries, etc. and see how it will allow me to make extra debt payments or contribute to savings so that every dollar is assigned a home. This is important because every time Mr. Lolobunny wants to make a small purchase, I whip out my phone to add it into my calendar budget and he carefully reflects on whether he would like to proceed. There has to be a buy-in on both sides.

The time before that, I showed him FoundationsU, so that we could calculate paying off our car loan earlier, which we did successfully! I was unsure how he was going to take it, but we ended up playing around with the program for almost 2 hours… no joke! We carefully played with the numbers to see which debt we would pay off next. It was not boring or painful, it was nice to feel connected and to have a shared vision.

Knowing that we are fully aware of what is in our bank account and that we have chosen goals together has been such a strengthening exercise for us. It has brought us closer together and has also helped us to skip quite a few arguments over money. Lastly, it taught me more about my spouse on a personal level. While I tend to stick to a vision of ourselves within 6 months to a year, Mr. Lolobunny often shares great plans for our future within the next five years. Knowing he is the more positive and optimistic cheerleader for our future has made me appreciate his suggestions in this entire process so much more. I would not be where I am financially without his support.

If you are unsure of how to propose the idea of a financial date, be sure to set the tone. Putting emphasis on a safe space in a public area can help to alleviate pressure. Also, keep it simple at the start. Pick 1 thing you would each like to discuss and be sure to listen wholeheartedly.

How do you approach the finances situation with your spouse?

 

Surviving Living in a Small Apartment

Mr. Lolobunny and I will be moving in less than two weeks! We are going from a spacious 2 bedroom suite to a much smaller, 1 bedroom (plus enclosed den!). The den counts, we just have to add that. 😉

We are not strangers to living in small places. Sometimes, our budget is suited towards a smaller space. Sometimes, the smaller space is more lucrative. For instance, this one has private laundry and a dishwasher. I will no longer endure the pain of handwashing each and every dish! I can do my laundry whenever I want! Although, I know I will stick to the low rate hours and weekends because we are paying utilities. Let’s not get crazy here. Nonetheless, this is super exciting for people who have rented from landlords who: refused to fix broken laundry machines, used waaaaay outdated machines that required double the change amount set and provided little counter space for dish racks. Rant over.

tinyaptOur new place also has a private patio, a gym and allows a home for our fur babies, which is hard to find. So we knew we did not want to pass this one up.

Here are some of our survival tips for tiny spaces:

Become minimalists
This may be easier said than done, or may seem obvious, but trust me, we collect random things passed down from family members quicker than you can bat an eyelash. We have learned to say no thank you, to donate our unused items, to sell those in good condition and to only keep the necessities. We had minimal decor over the past few years due to feeling like nomads and only just now have started to define our style.

Look at the space differently
We have forgone a formal dining table for many years of renting because of limited space. Instead, we have used breakfast trays, a patio bistro for 2 (which was actually really cute!), bar stools over the counter and a desk with computer chairs. It may not seem to be the most desirable furniture setting, but a bulky dining table would have felt awkwardly overbearing in our living room area and most did not fit our price range anyway. We decided it was not worthy to invest in this at the time because we ended up moving so many times, it would have been more than a headache.

Maximize storage
Every piece of furniture is an opportunity for storage. Look for items with double functions. We have an ottoman that also acts as storage. It has been used as a stool for extra company, a place to hide away unsightly items and as a foot rest. We also have a coffee table that can be multi-purposed for hidden storage and be used as additional seating. Our sofa again has a hidden storage compartment and flips out into a daybed for overnight guests. That is one room with plenty of possibilities. The key is to pick items that will give you the biggest benefit in both price and use.

Plan carefully
We keep our cleaning supplies in a bucket under the sink. Easy access, takes up minimal space. Laundry detergent and dryer sheets are kept in the hallway closet because I grab them and go. Most used appliances are out on the counter, everything else is tucked away. We rented for 4 years without a microwave, which saved on space. Living in a tiny space becomes less frustrating when everything is strategically placed.

Use the space in more than one way
My husband works from home, so an office space is needed. When you live in a small space, you gotta get creative. We have used our “dining area” as an office area with firm rules. When work hours are over, the space is tidied. This requires great organization, but you do what you have to in tiny circumstances. We get by keeping a rolling plastic cart in a closet. Mr. Lolobunny stores what is needed in there and we place his laptop on top and roll it out of sight. Now that we have a den, this will no longer be necessary. It will be a combined office area for him and myself for the time being.

Think seasonal
This is not as big of a concern now, but when we were living in cold, snowy Quebec, we had winter outdoor gear, clothes, boots, emergency kits, etc. As soon as the warmer weather hit, whatever could fit in a vacuum sealed bag did and got tucked away. Then, the fun, summery patterns came out. If you are in a area where the weather changes drastically, this might help too. Now, all we have to worry about is rainy season, but rain boots are not big space hogs, thank goodness. 🙂

These are just some of our ways of surviving. Are you surviving in a small space?

Why you Should Schedule Your Gym Block in the Morning

Did you know that students who get more physical activity open up different areas of their brain and are able to focus more? How do I know this? Well, there is the personal anecdotal research… my own classroom! Then, there’s the scientific based research, which you can pull up lots of studies on if you google it.

Recently, I attended an AMAZING workshop on active bodies, active minds. It really made me reflect on the need for kids to move physically before learning, while learning and after learning! While I make a conscientious effort to get my students to put their wiggly energy to work, I realized there are some really great ways to get even more physical energy out!

There were so many ideas the presenter shared, such as:

  • Balancing on one leg and spelling your name with the raised leg. He also suggested having them call out multiplication facts while tracing the answer, practicing sight words or spelling patterns, key vocabulary and so on. Simple and so many possibilities! Alternate balancing on each foot.
  • Squat rock, paper, scissors. We actually played all of the games he suggested and this was one of my favorites! The loser of each round has to squat until they win again. Then, to put a positive spin on who has to squat, you switch it up and have the winner squat if they win. I do not know why, but the squat element added a whole new element to this classic game.
  • Mirror, mirror. Some of the games focused on hand eye coordination and balance. This one is a big hit with my primary students. Have the students partner up and face one another. Then have one person be the leader and the other the mirror. Slowly have them move their arms, their legs, trying to stay in sync with one another. Another fun variation is to have them only use their faces.
  • Tap Count 21. Facing a partner, they can choose to say 1 or 2 numbers in sequence. For example, one person starts. They say 1 or 1-2. They tap the hand of their partner each time they count. Their partner can respond with 3 or 3-4. The game continues until you get to 21. You can add variations to this, such as balancing on one leg or having your students practice math facts.

But wait a minute… if students are benefiting from daily physical activity, wouldn’t that mean adults would benefit too?

Teacher epiphany moment… Not only do my students get the most out of their morning activity, but I do too. There is a reason I enjoy working out in the morning and that is because it gets me ready and feeling energized for the day.

Being a supply teacher, I see a lot of different schedules. I am going to be honest by saying that a lot of them incorporate gym maybe once, or twice a week. Sometimes it is taught at the end of the day. For me, after having this workshop, I can definitely see that by setting 10-20 minutes aside at the beginning of my morning, I can notice a huge difference.

This is not a remark on teachers. Trust me, I know our schedules are jam-packed full. But implementing a running club, morning yoga or any of the games described above (and there are a million more!) is do-able. Can we really afford to deny them of this?

 

Are You Meeting Your Daily 10,000?

10, 000 steps that is! I don’t know if there is any validity behind the 10,000 steps taken a day rule but one thing is for certain. When you aim for a number, it gets you moving.

steps

I was curious to see how many steps I take in a school day because I move a lot and I forget items in the staff room, photocopy room, my classroom and pretty much anywhere else I visit in a day. I try to maximize my time at recess so you will find me hustling along when the bell rings so I can let my students back into class.

This curiosity got me noticing that I move quite a bit. Some days I can easily hit that number, depending on the activity, how I am feeling and how energetic my students are. Other days, I still do well but with a combination of my steps before and after school, I can hit my target. This made me realize I move more than I give myself credit for.

If I move more than I realize, that means that I am doing something. Sometimes, I feel guilty for not making it to the gym as much as I would like. When work is getting stressful, especially around formal assessments, there is a tendency that the focus shifts to all school and not much of anything else. I have to remind myself that I am still getting myself to do something, (anything really!) often at a speed walking pace. I could certainly do more, but that’s not bad! It is definitely not shame yourself worthy.

My curiosity led to me attaching a pedometer to myself from the moment I wake up until the moment I park myself back in bed. Not because I need to know that I made it to 10,000 every day but more-so because it gives me a goal. Maybe I am just one of those people who needs something small to focus on, like a number of steps I want to try to reach. I guess I like the challenge of seeing if I can beat my previous day.

Some other things I have noticed as I have been more conscious of tracking my steps:

  • I am not sitting for long amounts of time as much. Even if I am at home watching a show to relax, after an episode I am feeling urges to get up and walk around, even if it is just pacing in the living room
  • I am feeling more energetic and positive about myself
  • It is becoming contagious. My students are asking to join my “brain walks” and my husband is asking to get out more. The nice weather certainly is helping to make it more enticing!
  • Most importantly, I am evaluating what went well and what did not. Slowly, habits are starting to shift. I am taking note of what did not contribute to my goals.

The other important, personal takeaway, from all of this is that I am finding myself getting gradually more competitive as I become more comfortable with myself. I am parking further and further away, walking at fast speeds for longer times. In two weeks from now, I will feel like a totally different person. My battle of returning to the gym is starting to tip in my favor. That is the goal I have set for myself. In two weeks, I will be fully back to my gym routine. I am learning that it does not have to be a race. I can walk and get to the finish line, on my own terms.

Do you hit your daily 10,000?

A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher

Being a substitute teacher is both a scary and adventurous experience. There is always that initial fear of the day starting off horribly, or not being able to find your way around the school. I love teaching most grades, although I do grumble a little inside when I get called in for grade 6/7. They’re just soooo tall! Most of them tower over me and I have to put up an extra tough act until they decide that I’m not so bad, which for the most part, I’m not.

cartoon

Lately, though, I have been finding myself covering Kindergarten. A LOT. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching Kindergarten. You can make anything and everything exciting by singing, clapping, using an animated voice or getting them to move a little. It’s great!

Having said that, kindergarten is definitely more challenging than grade 6/7. There are just so many things going on. When I teach K, I definitely hit my steps goal of 10, 000 before lunch even hits because I am just all over the place with them.

One of the most nerve-wracking parts is opening the classroom door. The parents anxiously waiting always give some kind of cue that they are disappointed that their classroom teacher is absent. Someone always asks, “Mrs. X isn’t here today?” It’s painful to inform them that no, unfortunately, the teacher is absent but I will do my best to follow their routines. I know that part of their hesitation is that I look really young and many assume it is my first year teaching. The other part is their concern for their child that the day is not going to run as smoothly, which is completely understandable. It is my goal to try to shuffle the students in as quickly as I can so I can introduce myself. They are always nervous to see a new face so I try to address it right away, with a big, bright smile.

The day usually starts with calendar and let me tell you, these kids know the routine so well. This is wonderful because it shows their teacher is consistent. However, it’s terrible for a substitute teacher because I have yet to see a teacher teach calendar the same way as another. You will always mess calendar up. They will always freak out and inform you how wrong you are. It’s both humiliating and impressive, all at once. *Note to any teachers out there, leave a procedure note on how you run calendar. While it may seem obvious to you, trust me, there are lots of varieties on the order of what you do and what you don’t.

After explaining a craft activity or a cut/sort, you turn your back for one second and there’s glue in someone’s nose, eyes, hair and so on. Once you address that, another one is smearing lipstick on her friend’s stuffed animal and telling me straight to my face that her friend said it was okay. Meanwhile, her friend is crying hysterically because she most definitely did not agree to this. Wait… why is Jimmy bouncing like that? “Do you have to go to the…” Too late. Jimmy just peed his pants and is now screaming too.

Yep, there is just no escape. When morning recess rolls around, I am thrilled to sit for 2 minutes while shoving a snack in my face so I can then rush off to the washroom, praying it’s not occupied.

After recess, my adorable little kindergarten students will ask five times if it is time to go home yet and tell me dramatically how tired they are. I believe them because trust me, I feel the same way! 😛 The worst is when one has a tummy ache and wants to call mom. All of a sudden, there is an epidemic of twenty five year olds who need to go home because of a tummy ache.

Their tummy ache passes quickly once I open a book and start to read a riveting story in a silly voice. It is awesome how quickly and quietly a kindergarten class can get settled if you know how to engage them with a great book.

These are all understandable and age appropriate problems that you will run into when substituting with Ks and I haven’t even covered what happens up to and after lunch. What I described is just the tip of the iceberg, but I have to say this in closing:

No matter how crazy it gets in the classroom, after all the tears, silly arguments and complaining, your heart will melt and all will be forgotten.

You will experience your heart melting when one of those little cuties:

  1. Decides to spontaneously get up during centers to tell you a story about their personal life. They chose to come to you in that moment!
  2. Brings a drawing to you
  3. Hugs a classmate who is crying because they do not want them to be sad
  4. Offers to help a classmate who is frustrated with their table work
  5. Tells you a joke that does not quite make sense but their contagious laughter makes you laugh anyway
  6. Invites you to enter their secret magical castle, where all the special, nice people go. Bonus points if they tell you the secret password.\
  7. Tells you they’d like you to come back again because even though you’re not Mrs. X, you’re still pretty cool
  8. Shouts to their mom, “It’s okay, I had a good day with the substitute teacher!” Crisis averted!

I will take Kindergarten over grade 6/7 any day because while they keep me on my toes, they are so sweet and willing to learn. Most of the time, they take me on a crazy adventure and the dismissal bell rings in the blink of an eye.

 

How to Reset After a Rut

The other day, I came home from a long day of teaching, completely worn out and just feeling icky all over. That’s the only way I can describe it. My head was willing me, the lights were too bright and I just could not think.

I should have seen this coming. The stress of our suite repairs taking so long has been getting to me. I hate feeling like an imposition on others and I am quite an introvert, so not having my own “space” has been killing me.

At night, I have been tossing and turning, seemingly restless. My alarm clock has become best friends with the snooze button. Lately, I find myself running out the door at the last possible minute, just dragging my feet.

In the morning, I was skipping breakfast, feeling apathetic towards eating and then regretting it later, as I waited for the snack bell to ring.

resetmorning1

So, a painful headache and an overall gross feeling was bound to happen. It took that headache for me to wake up and realize, I need to re-set my morning routine. Before I could do that, I needed to get my evening back in check. It’s all about balance and I was definitely missing any semblance of that in my life the past couple weeks.

Last night, I drank a calming, low caffeine herbal tea and took a bubble bath. I went all out. I’m talking candles lit, fancy soap, a glass of wine. This was to get myself in a more relaxed and comfortable state. I pulled out my favorite PJs, a soft bathrobe and slippers, then laid in bed much earlier than I normally would have. I curled up in my blankets, put my headphones in and played some soft music. Nothing lyric heavy, just music that feels nice to listen to without having to concentrate.

Poof! Just like that, I had fallen asleep. I don’t know how long it took for me to fall asleep but this relaxing evening certainly prepared myself to get in the mind set to relax. I did not focus on sleep itself, knowing that would stress me out.

Now, I cannot do this everything single night because there are things that get in the way, such as last minute teaching duties and other obligations. However, it did make me realize that when I get stressed, I tend to focus on the negative feelings, rather than try to find a positive solution. It also made me realize that my usual routine involves too much screen time. That glow effect just seems to keep me up later than I intend to and I need to put a stop to that.

This does not always work in my favor. Sometimes, try as I might, I just cannot relax or fall asleep. It is at those times, I need to take baby steps to get myself back on track.

Some tips that I have tried in the past that led to success:

*Set a time limit for yourself to go to bed earlier than the night before. This could be as little as 15 minutes. Increase the time each night until you have reached your desired bed time.

*Leave the screens at your bedside table. I play white noise or soft music if I am having a hard time to relax, but I make sure to close my eyes and turn the lights out.

*Cut caffeine down. I do not usually drink caffeine after 12 pm because I know it will keep me up otherwise.

*Layout what you need for the morning so that you are well-organized and do not have to rush. For instance, I have my lunch packed in the fridge and my gym bag, teaching tote and purse near the front door. My outfit is already laid out on top of the dresser. This eliminates thinking and time in the morning so I can wake up feeling relaxed and prepared to start the day.

*Eat a good breakfast. I may not always feel ready to eat right when I wake up, so I bring my breakfast to work. Before the school bell rings, I make sure I have had something to eat.

*Find your outlet. While a bubble bath, a good book or a creative project are my go-tos, you may find something else calming and relaxing. Once you discover it, make it a habit to fit it in more regularly.

How do you re-set your routine?

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