The stress of a new school year is felt more acutely by some professionals than others, but it’s a perfectly natural occurrence. In fact, you can turn it into positive energy with the right preparation – starting with yourself and your own routine.

Here’s how to lay the groundwork for making this school year your best ever:

Lay the Groundwork
Complete a few simple steps ahead of time so you can hit the ground running when the bell rings on Day One:

  • Start a daily stress-busting routine. Allow time in the morning for 10 or 15 minutes of stretching, walking, yoga or meditation. This goes a long way toward keeping your thoughts organized and your mind and heart centered.
  • Get into your school-year sleep routine. Do it gradually by going to bed and rising a few minutes earlier, day by day. That’s right, it’s not just for the kids! Getting enough rest is critical to your health, well-being and successful performance.
  • Organize your room or work area and your materials. If possible, this includes a list of students so you can begin learning their names. Find out if any school policies or procedures have changed, even such seemingly minor processes as making copies or contacting the administrative staff. Seating arrangements, posters, supplies, the works … have it all lined up and ready to go.
  • Create lesson plans for the first few weeks. There’s no such thing as over-planning. Prepare, re-read and know what your early-days’ schedule and activities will look like. “Winging it the first week” may seem flexible and reasonable, but it’s not practically advisable,

Deepen Your Connections
Plan to broaden and strengthen your connections with students, their parents, and your colleagues this school year. This will help you through times of challenge and make your work more enriching, sociable and enjoyable.

  • Ask yourself: Who would I like to know better? Identify a few people, then find a way to spend time with them – and listen. Ask questions that incite a conversation about who they are, what their passions involve, and areas where your interests and theirs might intersect.
  • When you connect with students and families, you’re more effective at meeting their needs. And when you connect with coworkers, you can better collaborate with them to serve students, as well as get their personal and professional support.

Enhance Your Professional Learning
Make it your goal to find truly fulfilling professional development opportunities. Seek them out and immerse yourself in your own learning about therapy and instruction, a new specialty area or whatever you’re drawn to within your field.

  • Take a course. Online courses offer myriad ways to develop content knowledge or refine skills. Local colleges also may offer relevant educational options.
  • Start a professional journal. Use it to identify new areas of your field to explore, including therapy tips and practices.

Enjoy Your Work
Of all the plans you make, this one is the most important. As noted by author Rick Hanson in his book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom, your brain is wired to cling to negative experiences and remember them above others. You need to train it to focus on the positive, what’s working, and what you enjoy most about your career.

Read our related posts or contact Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services for additional tips as the new school year kicks off. And here’s to your best one ever!

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