Sunday’s use to be my prep day during the school year. I liked to grab coffee at my favorite coffee shop and prep for my classes that upcoming week. It made Mondays feel way less stressful at work, but what I forgot to plan for was myself. The week would start and I wouldn’t have any food at home, so I’d eat out every day. I wouldn’t plan time for myself, so I would be convinced to stay after school for random activities. I wouldn’t plan any workouts, so I wouldn’t workout. I had no accountable to myself.
Once I realized that I would never set foot in my classroom without preparing a lesson first, I asked myself why I was okay with not preparing for my health and life. For me, prepping for myself has meant being accountable to myself and putting my mental and physical needs first. It has made me aware of when I was neglecting my personal needs, and has helped me find a better work/life balance that makes me feel healthier and happier.
Below are the 4 steps that help me to prep for myself each week. It takes some time upfront, but I always feel like I have more control over my life when I do this prep. Sometimes I have to be creative to find time for myself, especially during busy weeks, but I always do because I make myself a priority.
Four Steps To Prepping For Yourself
1. Review your schedule and make space. At the beginning of the week, look at your schedule. If your schedule is all work obligations, see where you cancel or change. What meetings are necessary and what can you pass on? Do you need to be at that meeting or can you communicate by email instead? Do your students really need help every day after school or can you set up office hours two days a week to tutor them? Do you really enjoy volunteering for all those activities? No, then stop! Just volunteer for the things you actually like.
2. Schedule time for activities for you enjoy. I know you love spontaneous adventures, but how often are those happening? Probably not a ton, so schedule activities like exercise, dinner with friends, personal hobbies, or whatever else you enjoy doing. If you schedule something make sure you do it though.
If you are having trouble figuring out what to schedule, start by writing down the things you wish you had more time for then make the time. It’s simple, but unless you actually do it you’ll keep assuming you don’t have time these things.
3. Schedule self-care time. Make sure you schedule relaxation and self-care time. I recommend trying to incorporate one self-care activity a day. You need time to read by yourself in a bubble bath, write in your journal, or take a long walk. You don’t have to spend hours on self-care, but even 10-20 minutes of unwinding will make a big difference in how you feel.
4. Prep food for the week. How you eat reflects in how you feel and when you eat out every day, you’ll probably feel sluggish. Make a grocery list and get your butt to the store on the weekend, or if you live somewhere that you can get groceries delivered then order them. Prep your meals, so you you have no excuses not to eat what you prepared. (Hint: Make sure to prepare meals you like. When I make meals I don’t really like, I end up ordering out still because I’m not satisfied then food goes to waste.)