By Amy K. Andrews
It’s September, dear readers, and time to sharpen your pencils. Although I suspect some of you are doing exactly that, there are others of you to whom I suggest that adage figuratively. I like to think of back-to-school time as the second New Year’s celebration of a given year; I like to harness the energy received from the summer sun and put it to good use by refocusing on my goals, my to-do list, and what I call my ‘inside projects.’ September provides us all with a fresh start, and the connotation of going back to school allows us the opportunity – no matter your age – to get re-energized.
As a Pilates Instructor and wellness coach, I always begin by going inside. I am from the school of mind-body, and believe a healthy body is the first essential ingredient in having success when heading back to the classroom. Much like starting the day with a good breakfast, or packing a healthy lunch to take to school, I like to suggest that I, and my clients, look again at what they are using to fuel their bodies and minds. Is it working? Could it be better? Can we think more clearly, or be more present and energized throughout the day by making a few small tweaks in our daily routines? There is no need for mountain-moving changes, but rather a compassionate approach to what is best for you. Perhaps you commit to getting up from your desk more often to walk around your office, or take a break in the cool, crisp autumnal air. Maybe you decide to swap your morning muffin with a homemade yogurt, granola, fruit and nut parfait. Or, possibly you choose to take advantage of the waning sun and commit to sleeping a more solid eight hours a night. Whatever you know you need, take the time to implement it now. After all, if you don’t take care of your body, where else will you live?
Second, I find it helpful to prioritize by making a list of goals or to-do’s that would make those eight hours of sleep a night more restful. The nagging project that you know you don’t really want to face, the paperwork that is stacked high upon your desk, the closet that needs organizing, the thank you notes you have yet to send, the book you began writing but have yet to complete… and the list goes on, right? Well, dear reader, now is the time. Hunker down on that first cool, rainy day and begin to check off those tasks one by one. And remember, slow and steady always wins the race.
Finally, and especially if you are literally heading back into the classroom this fall, find ways to reward yourself this season. Take advantage of autumn with a weekend drive in the countryside, stopping to try homemade apple cider. Go to a pumpkin patch. Rake leaves. Take to learning outside the classroom and try something new, like knitting a scarf. Make a big pot of soup or chili and share it with a friend or neighbor.
Whatever this season of sharpened pencils brings you to do, know this: by choosing to feed your heart and soul with the warmth of new lessons, rather than choosing to trudge through the same old school path uphill both ways, you can help yourself feel energized for the rest of the year. And, dear reader, that’s exactly what back to school is all about.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.