One Way to Beat Stress: Arrive Early!
I'm so excited that I have discovered this secret today. It's something that I promise will reduce the stress level in your lives. It's easy, convenient and all you have to do is plan: THE NIGHT BEFORE!
Today was the third day of school for my son Jeremy. Today we were among the very first people at school. Every single day, the kids line up in the parking lot at the school with their teachers. At 7:55am, the principal, Mrs. Katie Walsh, directs the students in The Lord's Prayer, and the Pledge of Allegiance. It's a wonderful tradition and unites the school every single day.
Today, because Jeremy was the first boy in his class to arrive, he got to be the line leader! Now, if you know anything about kindergarten, The LINE Leader is a VERY special thing to be. It's the first person in line. It's the leader. It's the HEAD HONCHO!! And today, Jeremy was the line leader! That made him feel special and I know this because he told the teacher that he was the FIRST person in the class to get there this morning. He was quite proud of that fact.
Yesterday though? A totally different story! Yesterday Jeremy and I were running across the parking lot to get there before the class went inside. We completely missed the prayer AND the Pledge and I was rushing him so much he started crying and nearly sat down in the middle of the parking lot. When we got there, I pretty much threw him in line, kissed him goodbye and both of us were nervous with adrenaline as we said goodbye. Whew! We JUST made it. The alternative was the go to the principals' office to sign him in. I just can't see me going to the PRINCIPAL'S office during the first week of school. Especially since I was NEVER sent to the Principal's office in my whole 12 years of school! (Yes, believe it or not.. I was one of the GOOD GIRLS!)
So I vowed last night to get to school early. Sway and I double checked all of our clocks with the world clock. We set them all on time and I set my wrist watch a bit fast. I made sure last night that his book bag was ready, his uniform was ironed and we all got to bed early. My clock went off 15 minutes earlier this morning and we didn't let Jeremy linger in bed this morning. We fed him, got his snack put together and got him dressed with time to spare.
Was it easy? OF COURSE not! We struggled like crazy to get him to get out of bed, to get him fed and to get dressed. But Sway and I worked together to get it done. Sure we had some crying fits and I think there were a few tense moments from all of our ends, but we did it and we got there early with a LOT of time to spare.
It was great! We got to sit in the car and talk about the day. We got to talk about what the day could be like if he had really good behavior. We talked about him meeting some new kids and introducing himself to others and being kind to others. We even got to call Jeremy's daddy and tell him how early we were.
When we got to the parking lot, I got to talk with Mrs. Dowell, his teacher and he got to share with her how he helped me yesterday when I sprained my ankle. She was delighted that he helped his mommy and showed the appropriate amount of pride.
Then Jeremy got to stand in line as the other boys lined up behind him. I got to socialize with the other mommies which is always fun. I got to kiss him goodbye as they walked away and he seemed fine today.
It was such a great day that I'm convinced that our habits can change. We can get to bed early EVERY night. We can prepare everything in advance and have a smooth morning and get to school early every day. It's worth striving for. I want my little boy to get in the habit of being early and enjoying the feelings that it brings.
I want to apply this tactic to every part of my life. To my coaching appointments, to church, or anywhere I must be on a regular basis. I like the feeling of being prepared instead of just arriving in a rush and trying to catch up with everyone else. I like not having the adrenaline rush and having to calm down. I learned this lesson years ago when arriving to the airport and I've never regretted getting there early. I've always been perfectly calm, cool and collected when I travel. Of course I learned the hard way and remember racing to the gate and being out of breath more than once.
So I know I can change my habits since I've done it before. And now, I'm instilling new habits in my son, and in my husband. I think it's going to make the school year easier. And somehow, I think it's going to make our life easier too.
So if you have that rushed feeling when you are driving around town or getting to meetings or appointments, try planning the night before. Get the whole family engaged in the new rule of thumb. It can change your whole outlook on school.
So try using this secret of planning to arrive early. It can change your life, your stress and your reputation!
Besides, it's a whole lot more fun. And isn't that a better way to live?
Mary Gardner is an Executive Communications Consultant and Coach. She works with, coaches and trains individuals, sales teams, executives, and celebrities. She enjoys seeing the best come out in people and has fun in the process. Mary is married to Sway and is mommy to Jeremy 5 and lives in Orlando, FL.
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