Seven Habits for a More Productive Commute

How many of us commute to work and don’t use that time productively?  It is so easy to begin the day by complaining about the weather, the traffic, the line at the coffee shop, or countless other trivial distractions.

It’s time to change!  To begin to train your mind to start the day off strong, be mindful when that negative thought creeps in when you realize way too many people missed the lesson on how to merge in traffic, use a signal, or that the left lane is for the speedier drivers…no need to honk every time someone upsets you on the road!  When you begin to have those thoughts tell yourself “nope, not today” and refocus on a positive thought.

There are more productive ways to spend your time on that commute which will benefit you and those around you.

I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week and see how your day improves!

positiveSeven Habits for a More Productive Commute

What are you listening to?: Is it adding anything beneficial to your life?  Gossip radio?  What type of music?  Be mindful of what you put on—in what way is it helping you be a better person?  Try motivational speeches, sermons, TED Talks, educational podcasts, or music that is going to place you in the right mindset for the day.

Conversations with God: On my way to work is when I have some of the best conversations with God.  If I need to vent, ask for advice, pray, or just say thank you I use this time to do that.  Give it a try!  I was struggling with a choice I made that was not popular among others, so I asked God to take it and show me if I needed to approach the situation a different way—he was loud and clear that the choice I made was the right one.  It’s amazing when God speaks to you!

Think up blog topics: For us bloggers there are times when we go through a bit of bloggers block…this time spent in our car driving while our mind wanders is a great way to think up possible topic ideas to write about.  I came up with this topic while on my drive to work.

Pray: On your way to work pray for God to use you that day.  Pray for your family, friends, co-workers, students, patients…

Eat a healthy snack: Pack some grapes, carrots, celery, almonds, or healthy snack of your choice to munch on while driving…an easy way to start making sure you are eating right!

Think of something kind to do for someone that day:  Do you know who has a birthday coming up?  Who might need some encouragement?  Everyone can use kindness, so take that commuting time to think of someone and what is something special you can do for that person.  Maybe it’s sending them a card, bringing them in a plant to work to say welcome to the company, paying for the person behind you at coffee shop, or just simply think of a compliment you can give someone that day!

Affirmations:  What do you tell yourself before you even arrive to work?  It can have a huge impact on your day?  Are you already complaining that today is Monday and thinking about that annoying co-worker?  Stop that immediately and change what you say to yourself!  Try saying to yourself that you are excited for this Monday, excited for what the day will bring!  Never say negative things about yourself!  Tell yourself, “I am talented”, “I am creative”, “I am successful”, “I am positive”…

Share in a comment:  Like I mentioned above, I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week while on your commute to work.  I guarantee that you will notice a difference.  What one will you try?  What other habits are we able to do while on our commute to work? 

Crystal

Post inspired by The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Honk

Motivational Monday: Inky Johnson “It’s Not Only About You”


Do your students need motivation?  Do you?  We can all use a bit more of a push once in a while!

Since I teach students who are considered a bit more challenging than most I’m always trying to improve relationships, motivate, inspire, and provide strategies they can use to keep motivated to continue to pursue their goals.

A few weeks ago we started to begin our week off with a motivational mini-lesson to bring more positivity to our week.  This isn’t some lesson to fluff off, but it will improve the environment in your classroom…and ripple outward.

Here is a free handout you can use with your own class to try this out.  I would love feedback from anyone who gives it a try.  My students are highly engaged, ask for more, and when I shared that I watch these types of videos when I’m in a bit of an off mood one student said she was going to start doing the same thing.

Inky Johnson Its not just about you

Watch Inky Johnson Video Here

Follow me to receive more motivational mini-lessons you can use in your classroom…and your own life.  More to come…

Crystal

 

 

My Thankful 30

This Friday we completed the second full week back to school which went fabulous, but it ended in a meeting that left me out of sorts.  I allowed myself to become bitter and I brought the negativity home with me, which is never fun for my family.

Gratitude

I decided I needed to put a stop to it and take a moment to reflect on the more popular moments of the week that I’m thankful for.  A strategy I recommend for anyone looking to turn their mood around!

  1. Celebrating McKinley’s Birthday…she is officially a teenager!
  2. Hearing Mick’s team (and the opposing team) sing Happy Birthday to her
  3. Soccer, soccer, and more soccer
  4. Cole’s Cross Country Meets
  5. Messages from former students
  6. Continuing to keep up with my blog
  7. Hearing all is healthy at my doctor’s appointment and listening to his heartbeat
  8. Some amazing students…nobody will ever see or understand those little moments that go on inside my classroom
  9. Surprise breakfast sandwich from my amazing co-worker
  10. Surprising one of our co-workers with a thoughtful gift who is a first time grandfather
  11. Everyone being able to SEE the baby kick…lil guy is active and strong
  12. Hearing my Grandfather on the phone…after his stroke I was unsure if he would recover and he is slowly, but surely making improvements!  He is the most strong, stubborn, fighter I know!
  13. Going through baby names with Craig…always fun…he thinks it’s hilarious when I start yelling the name out like he’s in trouble or he’s about to score a goal…we have to know how it will sound, right?
  14. Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream in bed…compliments of Craig
  15. Our first daycare tour…a gofundme page is coming soon…haha!
  16. Buying some more maternity clothes…having more options in the morning makes it more likely to have a positive start to the day
  17. Cole playing bass for homecoming
  18. Grandpa licking the container out of the Apple Crisp we brought him…haha
  19. Our first visit to Brighton Farmer’s Market–who doesn’t love live music, fresh food, beautiful weather, food trucks, plants, and holding hands with your man
  20. Snuggling with McKinley while she felt her lil brother kick
  21. Eating some amazing Italian food…Veal Parm is one of my favs!
  22. Cole going to his school dance
  23. Payday $$$$$
  24. A quick chat with a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time
  25. Healthy meals
  26. A man who wakes up early to make my lunch for work in the morning…all because he wants to…he even woke up extra early one morning this week to make egg salad for me
  27. Gramps feeling the baby kick again (to be honest I don’t think he was kicking at the time, but we will just let him believe he felt him)
  28. Receiving my Fabfitfun box…always fun when it comes
  29. The smell of the house as the turkey dinner is cooking
  30. Selling a couple items on Teachers Pay Teachers (who cares if I only made a dollar—still makes me happy)

Just a short list to remember all the wonderful moments from this past week.  Next week will bring even more to be thankful for!

thank you

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Share in a comment:  What are you thankful for from this past week?

 

Crystal

 

 

Experiencing the Layers of Pregnancy

I am officially 23 weeks pregnant.  I never thought I would even entertain the idea of having another child, but I fell in love with an amazing man and that plan changed.

When I met him I told him straight, “I will not be married, I will not have anymore children, and if you are still hung up on some ex or into drugs don’t bother with me because I don’t have time to play around”.

The poor guy looked at me and said, “Ummm…can we just go on a date to see where that takes us?”

And here we are now…23 weeks pregnant!  Whoa!  I think I’m more scared now than ever before!  How will I balance my life?  How will I sleep?  I want to breast feed, but will also be working…will I be able to pump enough?  And the dreaded thoughts about my body and what it will look like after I give birth…

For now I will focus on the beauty of my body as it changes and embrace the layers of change.

Today I took a few minutes to take some photos of myself to do just that…focus on the beauty of my pregnant body.

If this offends you I don’t apologize. If I wasn’t pregnant, on a beach, and in a bikini then you wouldn’t be offended at all.  It took me years to love my body, and becoming pregnant has caused a range of emotions to continue to love every part.

Share in a comment:  Did you find it easier to appreciate your body while you were pregnant?  Before pregnancy?  After?  How do you maintain a positive body image?

Crystal

Post inspired by The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

Top 10 Best Parts About Being Pregnant

top ten best parts about being pregnant

Pregnancy isn’t always full of positive experiences, but I took a moment to reflect on what my top 10 best parts.  This is what I came up with…

10.  More to blog about:  With all the excitement I have more to write about…I just have to commit to taking a specific amount of time to write per day/week.

9.  Organization: I’m a pretty organized person, but now I have stepped it up a notch and started to update my lists of birthdays of family and friends–I used to be a lot more thoughtful and send cards for special occasions and now I want to make it a goal to do that again!

8.   No period:  Does this one need much explaining?

7.  Another excuse to take pictures:  I enjoy taking photos, and another reason just makes it even better!  I have very few photos of my previous pregnancies, and this one being my last means I will take tons!  I’m sure I will drive some nuts with them all, but I’m excited and proud of my growing, healthy baby…and body.

6.  A reason to buy new clothes…and shoes….and bras:  Even if I’m not a huge fan of maternity clothes I do like buying new clothes…I have been able to find quite a few items that I like to wear, and I will be needing to stock up on some winter items too!  Since I’m on my feet all day teaching I *had* to go shoe shopping too.  I’ve found that sketchers have some really comfortable shoes and some of them are cute!  I did have to break down and buy new bras which I didn’t want to do at first, but I’m much more comfortable now—that could explain why my moods have leveled off lately?!?!

5.  Learning more about my body:  I have learned more about my body by being pregnant this time around than I have ever.  I have more of an interest in learning about what is going on, so I research everything.  I now realize that the cramping I  usually feel mid-cycle is actually ovulation, I know the difference between an ovary and follicle,  what the placenta vs. uterus is, and even the various theories of gender swaying and prediction—I became a bit obsessed with reading all about those!

4.  Presents:  Who doesn’t love presents?  I have received maternity clothes, a mani-pedi gift certificate, a homemade blanket, packages in the mail of goodies for our little one, and bags of baby clothes that will be a huge help!  I’m a lover of those fun types of surprises, so they are definitely one of the best parts of being pregnant!

3.  People (including students) are generally nicer:  Maybe I’m imagining it, but students and co-workers seem a lot more friendly.  Even strangers spark up conversations and smile more than usual.  Who can be mean to a pregnant woman I guess?  Friendly people means one happy pregnant momma!

2.  People are more likely to go out of their way to give you what you want…cravings:  Not that I abuse the perk, but I do enjoy being given what I want, when I want it…man I have a penchant for those Tim Horton’s blueberry muffins!  Craig is picking one up on his way home from work as I type this.  Now if I can convince my mom to make her lemon poppy seed bread…hmmm…is she reading?

1. Realizing there is a little life growing inside…beyond amazing:  Taking a moment to really think about the life growing inside, the miracle of it all, how I’m chosen to carry this tiny life, wow…God is great!  Feeling his movements is precious, but most moms know there is that uncomfortable feeling my cousin Brittany describes perfectly when she said, “the worst is when he will literally feel like his foot is coming out of your va-j!”

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On that note…my next post just might be about the struggles of being pregnant.

Share in a comment: What is your top favorite part about being pregnant or having been pregnant?

Crystal

 

 

PMS: The Struggle is Real!

I was reminded this weekend how it is impossible to be positive all of the time…how there are days that hormones just take over and cause total destruction.  I tried, tried pretty darn hard I’d say to keep positive, but I finally surrendered when I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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Friday night wasn’t so bad…I watched some football movie on Netflix…Mark Wahlburg was in it and played some Eagles player…Invincible was the name of it.  I was balling my eyes out…I immediately knew hormones were playing a factor because I don’t cry easily…well, except when you catch me this time of the month!  I told myself ok, now the next couple of days are going to be great!  This will be the month the moodiness will not visit!  I feel fabulous, eating healthy, gym action going on…all will be good!

pms1

Then Bam…the switch was flipped!  Dear boyfriend just doesn’t understand.  My due date is even programed in his phone to make him aware of the days to leave me be, but for some strange reason he just doesn’t believe that it’s a real thing…the struggle is real!

pms-copy

What escalated the situation is my trip to McDonalds.  I very rarely eat fast food, but I was feeling disgusting, skipped the gym, and decided I wanted hotcakes!  Why do they call them that—they are pancakes!  I can’t even tell you the last time I ate McDonalds, but all I know is I wanted pancakes with hash browns….ohhh and I tossed on an order of nuggets too to add to the misery!  I asked for syrup to dip the nuggets in, but she told me I couldn’t substitute that, so I ordered an extra–no big deal–I wanted an extra syrup…period!  haha..pun not intended!  Well, of course I get home, set everything up to chow down and find out there is no extra syrup!  Holy flames and f-bombs Batman!  Out of all the days to screw up my order this was the worst!

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The remainder of my night was spent doing my laundry (folding laundry is quite calming), watching Netflix, eating a Skor candy bar, uploading pictures to Facebook, and slowly coming down off that evil estrogen spike as I write this blog post…see, writing can be therapeutic!

Pray for my students tomorrow…better yet, pray for a snow day!

Crystal

The Power of Music: Positive Vibes Soundtrack

music

A fun project my students and I worked on was to create a soundtrack of songs that immediately put you in a positive mood.  Students have a host of struggles which spill over in their academics, and since they enjoy listening to music I challenged them to create a list they can turn to or should I say, turn up (ha…see the puns there) if they feel a bad mood creeping in.

Ohhh…one more rule was that the artist had to be African American (or write lyrics touching on African American issues) because I currently teach African American Literature and this was a way I could incorporate additional learning.

I have found starting class off with a positive song improves the environment of the classroom…this is not always an easy task as I teach in an inner city school. (Students are ages 16-21).

Have you heard?  What we put in our bodies affects us—we have the power to decide if that is for the positive or the negative.  We discussed that when we are in a bad mood we tend to gravitate to and listen to music that makes us even more angry and upset.  Being mindful about what you are listening to can change that.

Our Positive Vibes Soundtrack

Pharrell Williams “Happy”

Pharrell Williams “Freedom”

Kirk Franklin “Smile”

Tupac “Dear Mama”

Tupac “Keep Ya Head Up”

Tupac “Changes”

Alicia Keys “Superwoman”

Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”

Tasha Page-Lockhart “Fragile”

Bob Marley “Buffalo Soldier”

The Temptations “I got Sunshine”

Otis Redding “Dock of the Bay”

Meek Mill “Traumatized”

Jussie Smollett Conqueror

Monica “Angel of Mine”

Comment:  What song immediately puts you in a good mood?  What song would you add to our list?

Crystal