For many of my readers, as well as myself, the transition is quite pronounced when September arrives because school begins. Whether you are a high school or college student, parent or teacher, it’s time to now transition from a more flexible schedule into a one that places even more demands and expectations on your plate.
Oddly enough, there hasn’t been a year in my life when September didn’t symbolize the beginning of school in some way or another, and what better time of year to start fresh? The weather is temperate, ample rest has been had, and so many (including myself) are ready and excited to begin.
And even if school is not part of your September routine, many of you are returning from vacations and businesses and getting back into a busy full five day work week, so this checklist can most definitely be used for just about anybody to help create a more productive, balanced and confident start to a new season.
In order to help the school year begin auspiciously, below is the checklist I use that is not only something I look forward to making my way through (if pampering is involved, I’m always game), but beneficial to create an even better year than the last.
1. Plan a regular fitness routine that works with your daily work/school demands. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve. You don’t want to burn out and quit altogether. Remember it is consistency that will make the difference. So choose activities that blend enjoyment with challenge.
2. Take anything to the dry-cleaners that you’ll be wearing for fall (coats, tops, dresses, skirts, sweaters, etc)
3. Stock up or put together a home pampering kit (bubble bath, truffles, wine, candles, music, etc). There will be days when your heels are ready to be taken off, your mind is a jumble and emotional stamina has been exhausted. Be prepared in advance and have what you need to relax stocked and ready to go.
4. Stock up make-up supplies that are running low. Visit your make-up counter for a make-up to try out the new fall products.
5. Schedule a pedicure and/or manicure
6. Clean your make-up brushes, hair brushes, etc (simply use a gentle facial cleaner and warm water, wash, rinse and dry flat)
7. Visit your hair dresser for a trim and color touch-up
8. Clean your home/office/bedroom/car thoroughly. It will simply make you feel better when you enter each and every time.
9. Balance your budget and know where you stand financially. Due to your schedule potentially changing, financial expectations may change as well, so know exactly where you are and how much you can spend.
10. Plan and shop for healthy snacks to help keep you energized throughout the day (almonds, fruit, raisins, veggies, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter – click here for a few ideas)
11. Plan a weekly menu for your meals at home and stock your refrigerator with the necessary supplies.
12. Be sure to have ample tea, coffee or whatever you enjoy to begin your day.
13. Catch up your laundry and ironing.
14. Reading material. Since many of us are going back to school, one might assume we have more than enough reading material that is assigned, but it is always nice to have something solely selected by ourselves waiting on our nightstand before turning in after a long day. Be sure to have a lovely book ready to dive into.
15. Refresh your fall wardrobe. Assess your closet. Toss what hasn’t been worn in 1-2 years, fix what needs to be fixed so you can enjoy wearing it and ascertain what your closet is missing to create your ideal fall capsule wardrobe. Make a list, and diligently go shopping. View TSLL’s annual Shopping the Fall Collections 2012 (just released this past weekend).
16. Make sure you have a journal to write down thoughts, ideas, etc either at the end of the day or during.
17. Purchase any necessary supplies for your office/desk/tote/binder
18. Do you have a travel coffee mug that works? For only $15 make sure you have a reliable mug that you can take with you to meetings, lectures, on the commute to help you get your day started off right.
19. Double check all of your subscriptions (magazines, newspapers, etc) to make sure they are up-to-date and won’t expire. One of my simple pleasures after returning home from a long, exhausting day is discovering the latest Vogue issue sitting in my mailbox or any other publication that is a pleasure to read. Reading these publications help me step away from my daily stresses if only for thirty minutes or so.
20. Schedule and indulge in a seasonal facial from your favorite spa. You’re skin will thank you, you’ll glow even more and the hour of relaxing will certainly be beneficial.
Everyone most likely has their own back-to-school rituals, but the first person to tend to is you. Make sure you schedule time for things that need to happen to help you feel your best and have enough energy to get through your busy schedule. Exercise, good eating and a bit of pampering isn’t a luxury, but a necessity to maintain balance in a dynamic world that is always asking more of us. When you feel prepared, your confidence will show and you will be further gaining ground toward the goals you are already trying to achieve which makes us more enjoyable colleagues, friends, and loved ones to those around us.
May you have a wonderful first day back at school, at the office or at home helping your children begin the year.