I’m anxiously watching the weather, hoping my county will call off school for Wednesday. Not because I really care about a day off (especially because we just switch to an online platform for classes), but because we had almost the exact same not-too-threatening forecast two years ago. When I ended up being one of the lucky ones who made it home after “only” a three hour drive capped off with a three mile walk when the roads came to an icy standstill.
Luckily, I’ve stumbled across a few things that have helped me cope with stress this school year. They’re all accessible to small budgets, small spaces and small nibbles of time.
Aromatherapy – Smell Good, Feel Good
A middle school classroom can develop a certain eau de funk, especially when the kids have PE before my class. And after 14 years of living with it, I decided buy this essential oil diffuser for only $25.99. I did quite a bit of research on the oils. I knew that I wanted lots of variety, which took the more exclusive oils out of my price range. I settled on this set, which has a mix of blends and pure oils.
And I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. In fact, I bought a second diffuser for our bedroom just a couple weeks after the original buy. I also added a purchase of a Breathe blend from the same company when I felt the first sniffles of the new school year start to move in.
And, I know correlation does not indicate causation, but I have only been sick once this year (and that illness happened when I was out of town and away from the essential oils). I usually play host to at least 3 colds/sinus infections by this point. And even if that’s a happy coincidence, the oils really do help lower my stress (and I even see a difference in my students!).
Coloring Books – Color Me Calm
Yes, this is a trend. But it’s a trend for a reason. I’ve always used coloring in my classroom to soothe the students when they’re especially stressed (like after a day of standardized testing or when a tragedy strikes close to home). And it works for adults too. When you color, there are no rights or wrongs. Nothing is critical. No decision merits too much thought. It takes you out of your thinky space and into a place of intuition and impulse.
You can find the books almost everywhere now – craft stores, book stores and online. They come in all kinds of designs and most come in at around $10. And trust me, with those intricate designs, that $10 will go a long way!
Do Yoga With Me – Tame the Tension
I used to subscribe to YogaGlo, which provided amazing quality searchable yoga classes for $18 a month. And then my card expired and with it, my subscription. Instead of updating my card information, I decided to search other options.
And I’m glad I did. DoYogaWithMe is a similar interface as YogaGlo for the low, low price of free! It doesn’t have quite the quality or selection as the other, but it also feels fairly new and seems to be growing. You can choose a class based on style, difficulty and duration. And if you don’t like a class, you don’t have to stick it out or embarrass yourself by walking out early:) I’d call that low-stress!
Houseplants – Outdoors In
Kind of like the aromatherapy, I have no idea what took me so long to do this. I had to give up on indoor plants when I got my cat, almost 20 years ago. She’s been gone 10 months now, and I just realized that I could bring back the houseplants.
Finding pots that work for the indoors and are also budget-friendly (cheap) and time-friendly (easy to find) is no easy task. I settled on this line of self-watering (and no leaking!) pots from Fiskars. I found mine at Lowe’s and Home Depot for a lower price than Amazon.
I’ve kept some this cool blue color and I’ve spray painted others white to serve as herb planters on this plant shelf Brock built for me out of a piece of exterior trim board. It’s too cold to buy the herbs right now, so I’m filling the shelf with blooms from our Camellia bush (yes, in stemless plastic wine glasses because I’m just suave like that!).
In addition to the plants for the shelf, I scattered them around the house. No pictures yet, because I bought the silliest, smallest plants knowing that they will soon grow into their pots. I love coming in to a home filled with green and growth and life.