May is a crazy time for students, teachers, and parents. The school year is wrapping up, there's testing, recitals, programs, open houses...you get the picture. We have a lot going on!
A few weeks ago Gretchen Rubin did a feature on her podcast about surviving a "Season of Stress." I love this terminology because it reminds us that these crazy times only last for a time. It's going to end eventually!
If you have the chance to listen to this episode, I'd highly recommend it! It's full of lots of great ideas.
This spring has definitely been super crazy for me! Here are a few things that really help to keep my from losing it when times get nutty:
1. Stay organized. As much as possible.
When I'm in the middle of a stressful time, it can be really easy for my stuff to get out of hand. It feels so much easier to just drop things wherever than to put them back where they belong, but it doesn't take long for things to get out of hand, and clutter is a huge stress amplifier!
I'm not saying this is the time to reorganize my closet or clean out the garage, but it is a time to keep things where they belong. I do the dishes before I go to bed. I fold the laundry and put it away. I hang my keys up when I walk through the door. These little things don't take a lot of time, but they make every day tasks so much easier.
2. Meal Plan and Batch Cook.
Eating well and staying healthy is really important during seasons of stress. These 2 strategies help me to make sure I'm eating well.
Not everyone loves to meal plan, but it's a necessity for me. If I don't have a plan or some easy, healthy food in the fridge, my options are really limited.
I like to use Real Plans. The app is really fun to use, the recipes are great, and it's really customizable, which makes it great for everyone!
Some people love to batch cook full recipes and just live off of the leftovers. There are certain recipes that I might do this for, but in general, I tend to batch cook components of meals. I'll roast up a bunch of extra veggies, roast a whole chicken when we only need half of it, and my favorite trick: make a huge batch of shredded pork, chicken, or beef in the Instant Pot, and reimagine the leftovers throughout the week.
3. Take some time for myself.
When things get busy, it's really easy for me to put myself last. I spend all of my energy on other people, and I don't realize I'm burning out until it's too late and I'm getting snippy with people.
I am definitely not a morning person, but a trick that has helped me find time for myself is to get up earlier. If I get up before everyone else, I have time to take a walk, spend a little time reading, and plan out my day before the responsibilities of the day begin.
What are some strategies that you find helpful during seasons of stress? Let me know in the comments!
I know this topic sounds super boring, but hear me out.
Over the last few years I have made a MESS of my Dropbox folders. Sure, I at least had the foresight to have a Dropbox, which allowed me to keep all of my teaching resources and digital sheet music in one place that I could access from any device, but that's where my forethought ended.
Does this sound familiar?
When I first started teaching I started following a few blogs and teachers who would offer up cool resources from time to time.
Every time I saw a new free resource, I'd download it and save it to Dropbox. If I didn't have a folder that it seemed to fit in, I'd create a new one.
A few years go by. Now I'm following about a million blogs that all offer the most AMAZING resources, many even for free! I see some really cool free resources, and I download them. If I don't have a good file for them, I create a new one.
As time went on, I was filling my digital file folders with hundreds of awesome resources, but I NEVER USED THEM!
There are a few reasons for this:
1. I didn't know what all I had.
2. I couldn't find things that I was looking for.
3. I never downloaded anything with a purpose.
So what did I do?
1. I went through every single file folder and deleted everything I'd never used, and never planned to use.
2. I made a Master List for every file with brief descriptions of each resource, for easy searching. (This is an idea I got from the Upbeat Planning Academy!)
3. I made myself a promise: I will not download anything that I doesn't currently fill a need in my studio.
If I see something really cool that I don't have use for, it goes on my "Cool stuff I don't need yet" list. Sure, I run the risk of it not being there when I want it, but if I don't have a use for it now, there's a possibility I never will.
So how does this work for me practically? Let's consider the following example:
I have an intermediate-level student who is working on left hand accompaniment patterns, and wants something more modern-sounding than her classical repertoire.
I open my Digital Sheet Music Master List, sort by level, and browse through the "Teaching Points" column to see if I have anything that fits the bill.
Want to try creating a Master List of your own? Download my Master List Templates for Excel and Numbers here:
I teach piano in California. Here are some of my thoughts.