I'm so energetic and lively after the first week of school! - said No Teacher Ever. But every teacher does say, "I wish I had their energy!"

Everyone asks me all summer if I am excited to go back to school, and the answer is always YES! BUT! Yes, but I HATE the morning hustle and I miss my afternoon naps. I'm a girl that likes my sleep, and I'm not a natural morning person (though life dictates I do it anyway in this season). I actually also take a pretty icky medication for my brain condition that sucks the energy away. It's always a magical unicorn day when I forget to take those horrid pills the night before only to come back to the reality the following day when the side effects seem to multiply.

I used to spend the evenings binging Netflix and mindlessly scroll on Insta and Facebook following other teachers who just seem to be exuding energy all day! I mean, the bright colorful pictures and the TPT filled walls, the smiles for days and cheerful captions and posts.  And I was thinking that they must be new teachers and I could NEVER have that kind of energy. But 10 years in - almost 42 years old - I DO!

So when people ask me why I make healthier decisions - it ALWAYS comes back to energy.  Because that's what it takes to follow dreams and live our best days. I am so over wasting any more days not feeling good.

It took about a week of following my plans and programs to figure this out.  I was actually pretty astounded at the difference so fast. As I coach my challengers in my accountability group, I often drop these little nuggets into the daily posts.  When we start a program, we are often super tired and we think the exercise will drain our energy even more, but it's not the case at all! So here are some of my best - FREE for YOU! Because if I can help you follow your dreams, too, I will be happier.

My morning routine starts out just as I plan, dragging myself out of bed after hitting snooze at least once, stumbling downstairs to drink my lemon-y pre-workout mom crack unicorn juice, putting on the easiest workout clothes I have (usually from the day before), starting the warm-up before I'm even awake enough to talk myself out of it. I finally hit the grove and happy endorphins with about 10 minutes left.  That 30 minutes sets the tone for the entire day. All of a sudden, I am feeling my BEST - creative, confident, and productive. The earlier I can get myself up, the more sweet silent time I have before I have to start getting the kids ready. My alarm goes off again at 6:30 am and I head upstairs to get the kids and myself out the door on time.  The last 10 minutes are usually a frenzie and we are racing out of the house late as usual.

I still feel amazing and I make a cup of coffee in my office ready to greet the students and crush the day! Then at some point mid-morning, I crash.  I'm looking for a hit of chocolate or another coffee.  Something to spike my energy. And by the end of the afternoon I need another coffee just to make it through dinner and the "2nd job" of being a mom.

I love my work so much, but the energy struggle is STILL real. I have learned over the last few years that I actually have to be intentional about managing my energy and planning for those pitfalls. Most health decisions I make always come back to this.

Will this food/action contribute to or take away my energy and how do I respond?

Here's the lesson with the examples at the end!

1. Go to bed on time - and on a schedule. Friends, if you are scrolling social mindlessly - JUST GO TO BED! I try to go to bed at 9, but it usually ends up about 10 p.m. My day just starts better if I'm sleeping at 9, though.  Also "social jet lag" is when you drastically change your schedule on the weekends to make more room for fun.  Trying to get to bed about the same time each night even on weekends WILL impact your energy during the week.  I'm not saying don't have a fun night out, by any means, but just be sure you have your energy budget in mind when you say yes to one more dance.

2. Plan a morning ritual - whatever you want to do in the morning is up to you.  I recommend a self-care/love routine that includes exercise of some sort, mapping out your day, dreaming a bit, and personal development.  If you haven't seen MY morning routine - you can get it in detail here. This sets you up for a productive day. No matter what else goes to hell in a handbasket, you can be sure that everything starts clean and fresh with your routine the next day.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast - I was never a breakfast person, but your body really does need food in the morning.  A solid protein and fiber filled carb is energy inducing and brain food. Try making these sausage egg muffins ahead of time! I usually drink my daily shake! (Cafe latte with almond butter and extra coffee. YUM!) Pairing the carb with healthy fat and protein will help avoid the fast energy crash.

4. Mid-morning snack - PLAN for a dip in energy! Bring a piece of fruit and string cheese to keep you away from the chocolate drawer. Add your morning coffee with a splash of milk or cream if you really need it!

5. Lunch - Don't skip it!  If you are going to be eating at your desk or on the go, make an easy deli ham wrap with a whole wheat tortilla and laughing cow cheese.  Veggies and hummus also are pretty non-messy to keep your hands and laptop free of goo.

7. Mid-afternoon snack - plan for this, too! Mine is usually a Beachbar (the most amazing tasty balanced, clean protein bar ever #shamelessplug - seriously they are so good!) and 10 baby carrots.

8. Drink caffeine sparingly or not after a certain time. I also pair my afternoon snack with my mom crack unicorn juice (fruit punch for the afternoon) but I'm super careful not to drink it too late. The docs will tell us no more than 4 cups of coffee a day, and I'm still within this limit - even adding the caffeine from the natural tea in the drink. But drinking it too late will affect getting to sleep on time! And duh THAT is Step #1!!

9. Notice patterns and adjust! Do you have an energy crash at a weird time? Do you get up 100 times to go to the bathroom if you have a glass of wine at dinner like I do? Is there a habit in your day that you know is from being tired? Note those patterns and see how you can use nutrition, exercise and sleep to combat it.  Taking a quick walk around the school is always a good idea. (No running!) hee hee

Now for some solid examples that come up for me all the time:

1. Some #evildonutbringer brings the most AMAZING pastries from the local amazeballs bakery.  I ask myself - is this worth the energy crash and how am I feeling today? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it's no.

2. My sisters ask me to do a fun all day sister day on a fall Saturday afternoon. When I look at my calendar, I notice if there are commitments over the entire weekend, not just the day we are thinking about.  If I already have a big Sunday planned, I will choose a different Saturday. I know that I need one weekend day to prepare my energy for the week.

3. I really want to sleep in, but I know that getting up to do my workout in the basement will keep me focused and happy all morning.  When I sleep in, I feel groggy and crabby because those crazy endorphins didn't have a chance to release. (Excercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don't kill their husbands... remember that line?)

4. I reallllllly want that energy boost of an evening cup of coffee, but the most powerful thing I can do for energy is actually get a good night's sleep. So I'll go through a foggier evening, and hit the pillow on time.

I am blessed enough to live with a fellow teacher who gets it. There's no tired like teacher tired. But I do chat with my friends who have partners outside of education that just don't understand.  I mean, all we do is play with kids all day, right? We aren't sitting in cubes slaving over spreadsheets and so we can't possibly be so tired.  Ha!

Hope this helps!!

I also save some energy by planning ahead for the week - if you don't already have it, grab my Win the Week Guide here!