April is here! This year has flown by so fast. I have 7 more weeks of work, then my schedule lightens up significantly. I can’t wait! 🙂
I have felt so stressed out as of late. I have a lot going on at work, I picked up a second job teaching private lessons at a local music studio, and I am working hard on my coursework to clear my teaching credential. I got my big project done over spring break, so that I could come home to San Diego and have more time for relaxing and taking part in all the fun activities there are down here!
While home, I made a stop at the Elk Grove Vitamin Shoppe. They have the best prices on essential oils, so I love to get a few when I’m there. I just made a sugar scrub that has orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. They call the scent combination “Cheer Up, Buttercup!” It’s a lovely, citrus-y way to greet the day. They gave me a magazine called Good Health Lifestyles and I’ve been inspired by one of the articles.
It’s called “Cultivate Your Calm: 30 Days of Mindfulness.” I’ve been making an effort to choose one of the ideas each day to create more peace in my life. Here’s how the first week went!
4/1 Appreciate a pet. Spring break included family time with my parents, sister, and extended family, but let’s face it – I went home for the dog. If you have a beloved Fido, think about how much you enjoy seeing him, spending time with him. Now imagine having to live 450 miles away from your dog, and only seeing him a few times a year. Now you know my pain! Over the week, I took so many pictures, Pippen would see me hold up my phone and would immediately stop being cute or turn away. The dog does not appreciate my paparazzi skills! I delighted in taking him for walks, along with his cousin dog Bentley. I even found Pippen to be completely adorable at 5:30am when I took him downstairs for breakfast and he was prancing all over the family room. How I wish I had video of that! That little dog has no idea how happy he makes me.
4/2 When you interact with others today, let go of how they may affect you. On this day, I really just tried to leave the past in the past and start with a clean slate in how I interacted with people.
4/3 Do something new. Sunday = board games! I tried some new games today with friends. I enjoyed Paperback, Burgle Bros., and Havoc & Hijinks.
4/4 Find out the exact moment of sunset in your area. I could see the sky changing through the French doors, and walked outside to watch as the sun sank down behind the trees.
4/5 Make something. I made a lot! Love my Tuesdays off! It is so nice to have the time to make a nice lunch to enjoy. I made these delicious spring rolls. So easy.
Slice up the veggies into thin strips, chop up the kale and cilantro. Boil the rice noodles. Then you wet the rice paper in a pan of water (I used a large pie pan), place on a cutting board, top with your veggies and roll it like a burrito! So simple, but just the right meal for the spring and summer, when you want something cool and crisp. I made a peanut sauce too with this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
I also made a cute sheet music banner to put up for Open House and school. I am completely in love with it. Thanks to my friend Emma, who gave me the old music!
I also have been obsessed with these watercolor papers from Julie Comstock. You can find them at Joanns, perhaps Michaels and Hobby Lobby (I haven’t looked). There are words and pictures that are in a resist so that the paint goes around them. Just learn some simple watercolor techniques and you can make some really cool art! 4/6 Today, as you work, take a moment to think not about the task, but about those who will benefit from your task, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This first week back after Spring Break has actually been really good. I’ve got a new batch of students, and I’m trying to be happier and more playful in class. I’m trying to be sensitive to their needs over my goals. I know we need to cover the rules since it’s day 1 for them, but I get them singing and moving first to bring some smiles and draw their focus. Hope this holds out!
4/7 Take a mindful coffee break. Mine was a hot chocolate break, at school. I keep a few packets of Swiss Miss in my room for rainy days. 🙂
4/8 Forgive. So there was a guy I went on a few dates with, but I haven’t heard from him in about 2 weeks. He’s a great swing dancer, and twice we had gone dancing together. Friday night I went swing dancing as I usually do. And there he was. To be honest, I was losing interest in him anyway, so I didn’t really feel hurt that I hadn’t heard from him. I danced with a bunch of guys, then walked over and asked him to dance. I pretended like we were just friends, and so did he. Oh well. Moving on.
4/9 For two minutes today, take a serenity break. I’ll do you one better, I took a 5-minute break! I can’t say enough great things about the Calm app. It guides you through 2, 5, 10 minute meditations. I absolutely love it. Sometimes I’ve used it to help me get to sleep.
4/10 Go to the water. The ocean has a calming effect for most people. I took full advantage of living on the California coast and walked along the Carlsbad beaches with my friend David. At the turn-around point, we paused to admire the beauty of the shoreline and watch the waves. 4/11 When you drive today, notice your reactions to other cars traveling with you. This morning I was running a wee bit late, but not quite enough to be in full-on panic mode. Plus, I’ve been more relaxed about my teaching lately, so I didn’t feel super pressured to get there quickly. Either I got lucky, or my calm demeanor conversed with the universe, and I got to school in 15 minutes. It was so easy. Other mornings I’m running late, panicking, and there are accidents and jams along my route. Then after school I went to the library and got annoyed with the people clogging up the parking lot. But on my drive home after teaching my saxophone student, I wasn’t concerned with rushing home and the commute was easy. At 5:45pm. Quite the blessing.
4/12 Insert pauses into your day. I was so productive on my day off. I did laundry, bought groceries, prepped food for the week, made these amazing Rice Krispie treats with browned butter and cinnamon, and went to dance class! Between tasks, I was sure to pause and relax a moment.
4/13 Listen with attention. I made an extra effort to listen to my students during the day, my coworkers in the afternoon, and my baking friends in the evening. Good listening skills are lacking in today’s world, but so important to making people feel valued.
4/14 Grab some colored pencils and color. I LOVE my adult coloring books. I haven’t touched them in a while because once I start I have trouble stopping. But I really needed the color therapy today so out they came. Love it!
4/15 Practice silence. I love music. I have it on all the time. And then I make music all day at work! Strangely, when I came home today I didn’t turn the stereo on. I decided to embrace the silence. Sitting in my chair, with the French door open, I could hear the leaves rustling in the breeze, and the traffic of the 78 in the distance. Luckily, the trees were louder than the traffic!
Part 2 of this list coming soon!
Katie, the NoCo List Chick