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Springtime Joy: A Student’s Guide to Wellness

by Mrs. Colleen Mullins, Middle School Science Teacher

PA’s online charter schools

Get ready for spring!

If you live in Pennsylvania and attend one of PA’s online charter schools, chances are you might be missing a view like the one above right now! I know I am. But, we are entering the month of March and you know what that means: spring and warm weather are almost here.

Are you still feeling a bit of the winter blues? Me, too!

Here are 20 things to do now to improve your well-being and make the most of each day:

1. Wake up at the same time during the school week. Yep, that’s right – Set an alarm or have a family member wake you up. Scientific studies show that having consistent times to go to sleep and wake up increase’s productivity.

2. If you have pets, spend time with them! They love your attention and it’s great for your health as well. Don’t have a pet? Offer to walk a friend or neighbor’s dog.

PA’s online charter schools

3. Head outside and get some sun and fresh air. Go out even if the weather isn’t great. My college professor once said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!” Rainy? Grab a water-resistant coat. Cold? No problem. Just bundle up with your favorite hat, coat, and mittens.

4. Along with #3, move your body! This can mean going for a walk, finding a YouTube video on yoga, or just dancing to some music. The great thing about exercise: you can do whatever you like!

5. If you can’t go outside, open the window for a bit. Just getting a little breeze and hearing a gentle rainfall or birds chirping can lift your spirits.

6. Take a few moments to focus your eyes on something far away. Most of us spend so much time on screens and looking at things up close. Our eyes need a break. Taking just a couple of minutes to fix your eyes on a tree, house or other object in the distance trains your eyes to be able to use their distance focusing abilities. Your eyes will thank you.

7. Tidy up your space – make your bed, clear the kitchen counter of dishes, clean up your desk/table where you do school work. Tidying up can also include your computer’s desktop. Get rid of items you are sure you don’t need. Organize your folders so you can easily find documents and other files. (Fun Fact: Tidy comes from Middle English and originally meant to have the ocean tides in order or on time.)

8. Write a to-do list at the end of each day for the next day. Aim for 3-5 things so you don’t get overwhelmed. It will let you hit the ground running in the morning. You won’t have any down time wondering what to work on first. Mark things off as you go. You’ll feel organized and accomplished. If you prefer writing down things, a sticky note or a piece of notebook paper will do. Maybe you are more of a digital kind of person. If so, try Google’s Keep app.

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If you are an online homeschool program student at one of PAs online schools, you might find this useful to bring some order to each day.

9. We’ve all heard this one! Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water each day. Not sure how much you need? Take your weight and divide by 2. That is the number of ounces to strive for each day. Remember, there are 8 ounces in 1 cup. Here’s an example: 160 pounds ➗2 = 80 ounces which is the same as 10 cups.

10. Laugh and smile. We are all unique so what makes us smile and laugh is different from person to person. Find what brings you enjoyment and laughter!

11. Talk to your family and friends each day. Texting is ok but try talking in person or on the phone. Hearing each other’s voice allows us to pick up on subtle meaning and mood. Sharing a funny story, picture, or video is another great way to connect.

12. Say I love you to your family and friends. Just say it. Embrace being bold and maybe a little awkward. Need some inspo on how to say I love you? Try “Safe travels!”, “Take care of yourself.”, “Hey, I’m thinking of you.”, or “Just checking in–How’re you doing today?”.

13. Learn something new each day. With the world at our fingertips, this should be easy. Share what you learned with someone else.

14. Surprise someone with a compliment. Be genuine. Take notice of something they are good at or what makes them unique. It might just make their day!

15. Randomly do something nice like finish folding laundry or pick up the mail for a family member. Remember, being nice doesn’t have to be a grand gesture! Little things count.

16. Go armchair traveling. Heard of an interesting place somewhere? Explore it virtually! Better yet, consider planning a trip to go there!

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17. Cook a new recipe. Share it with your family, a friend or surprise a neighbor.

18. Need some motivation for working out? Or perhaps you need some tunes to help you relax at the end of the day. Solution: Make a new music playlist. Want to ramp up the fun? Ask a friend or sibling to help create the list!

19. Sleep more. Yep. That’s right. Come up with a bedtime routine. Set a timer to get the routine started each night. A solid routine includes basic personal hygiene, such as brushing your teeth and taking a shower. What else should you include? Try dimming the lights and reading a book or writing in a journal. Or startup that relaxation playlist from #18. Research shows that avoiding the use of phones, TVs, and computers a couple of hours prior to sleep helps you fall asleep quicker and stay in a deeper sleep longer. Yay! Better Zzzzs!

20. If including all of the 19 things above is too much, focus on this: Find something that brings you joy and happiness. Remember, life is not a dress rehearsal. You only get one chance to make the most of each day!

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