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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 Fantastic Things to Do Over Winter Break

You need a break or you'll break... literally. Take some down time, help others, reconnect with your family, and get a head start on life next semester. Here are some things you'll want to fit in to your time.

1. "Veg"
"Veg" is a word that implies to vegetate or just relax. But it also implies what it means... vegetables or really anything good for you. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Don't set your alarm clock and get up when you're ready
  • Get off caffeine and drink lots of water (I always do this)
  • Lay on the couch all day and watch movies with your kids
  • Pull out one of your favorite movies from when you were a kid and rediscover it with your own children (Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, Chariots of Fire are some of my faves)
  • Drink you favorite drink in the morning.
  • Eat just when you're hungry
  • Cook a new recipe or an old one that you haven't had time to do
  • Make a batch of cookies unexpectedly (don't tell the kids - just let them run in because of the smell - my favorite recipe site is All Recipes)
  • Cook some good fresh vegetables and keep cut up fruit in the fridge to munch on
  • Read a book or two
  • Go to your library and mess around and look at books
  • Take a walk or run in a new place
  • Flop like a flip flop with no guilt
  • Don't make a list for at least several days
  • Take long bubble baths
  • Do your favorite relaxing past time with those you love
Watch a person tuning a guitar. If the string is too tight the sound is not good and the string will eventually break. While some natural tension is good for being productive, you can wind yourself too tight. If you're a teacher, you know that you're going to be teaching like Taz (the tasmanian devil on Bugs Bunny) till May so you need this break.

2. Reconnect
When I was a child time would drag by -- now time drags me.

Spend time with yourself, your significant other, your children, your parents. (See Be the Present.) Hang out without a rush and just inhale their presence to nourish you when they are no longer here one day.

Remember that it isn't all about you. Sometimes it is being thoughtful. If your son loves egg nog, get a carton and put it in the fridge. If your daughter likes a latte, make her favorite unexpectedly. Think of others and remember that the big things are often little things.

3. Organize
 Next week after Christmas, I'll be "Pareto-ing" everything. Pareto's principle says that 80% of the productivity comes from 20% of the things you do. So, you probably wear 20% of the clothes in your closet 80% of the time. You use 20% of the apps on your ipad 80% of the time. How could you improve your life if you focused on that 20%?

My Ipad Screen (see Pareto-ing your Home Screen), my closet, my kitchen, everything gets the once over.

For example, in my kitchen, I take everything that I use daily or weekly and put it within easy reach. (Zone 1) Then, zone 2 are things I use monthly and they can be down lower or up higher. Finally, deep storage is for those things I use once a year (if I really must keep it.) If you separate things by frequency of use then you can have a system that makes sense for organizing.

4. Donate
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've asked you to donate one tweet or one Facebook status a day to #endslavery. (Read about the #endslavery challenge here.) If you're not going to support this cause, use your tweets to support the cause of your choice. Social media does impact giving, awareness, etc. We have the ability to put things on the front burner and garner attention. To me, nothing deserve more attention than the 29 million people enslaved in the world today. It is easy to look down on the ancestors of centuries a go but if we won't tackle slavery today, I don't want to hear it.

But you can also donate your time and you can donate gently used things that you don't need any more. Just remember this, Goodwill isn't a trash can. If it belongs in the trash, do them a favor and throw it in the trash. I know you may hate to part with Great Aunt Sarah's stained sweater but if you don't want it, no one does.

Give back this Christmas in some way. It isn't that hard.

5. Anticipate
After being rested and reconnected, then it is time to look ahead at the upcoming things.

For me, it is the official Flat Classroom book launch and book club (see www.flatclassroombook.com) as  well as sports schedules, and writing assignments etc. I'm having knee problems and want to work on running with better form because I love it and I can't regain the 50 pounds I've lost so I begged Randi Farina, Lifetime's Social media director to let me test  Chi Running / walking materials. If that doesn't work, I will be doing something every week to stay fit because that is what I do. Great accomplishments are the results of decisions. No excuses.

Also, I'll go ahead and plan the menus for January. Get calendars set through spring break. And plan routines. I don't make "resolutions" I literally plan out routines. 95% of what you accomplish in your life is due to the routines you have according to Brian Tracy. Because routines. make you who you are going to be. (See: The Routine of Being Amazing.)

All I want for Christmas...
to season the season with family, faith, food, and fun
and remember the reason.

Photo Credits:
Big Stock (a great place to download photos licensed for blogging)

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