Things are about to get CRAZY. They always do. At some point very soon you’re going to get sick, or pooped (yes, I just said pooped!) or just plain lazy. Maybe you’re about to have the best year of your life. Maybe you’re about to have the worst. Whatever happens, at some point along the way you’re going to be under more stress than you feel like you can handle. It’s part of life. 

That’s why it’s SUPER important to get things in order right now while things are easy and nothing has fallen apart (yet). Here are some really simple ideas on how to prepare for the hard times. 

1. Make a Playlist

I can’t accomplish anything without music. If I’m doing homework, I’m listening to videogame soundtracks. If I’m at Walmart I’m avoiding all eye contact and listening to my favorite folk band. If I’m washing dishes, it’s pop all the way while I yell every lyric. 

My guess is you listen to music pretty often, too. Do yourself a favor and stack some playlists for when you need them. Here’s how:

-- Start with your favorite program: I use Spotify, but some of my friends swear by Amazon or Google Music. Maybe you’re old school and use CDs because they’re retro. If that’s you, ask your parents how to download your favorite music onto one disk. If they can’t figure it out, I don’t know what to tell you, maybe you were just born at the wrong time.
-- Once you’ve got that worked out, it’s time to name your playlist (or CD). Some of my extremely creative, incredibly artistic name ideas include:
Ed Sheerunnin’ (for workouts),

Justudyin’ Bieber (for homework),

Saylor Swift (for nautical voyages).

-- Once you’ve named your playlist, next step is to find music. If you’re making a homework playlist, it’s best to look for music that isn’t distracting. I tend toward soundtracks from videogames like Final Fantasy, Halo, and Legend of Zelda, but awesome movie soundtracks work too.
-- Don’t overthink it. If you make a great playlist, share it with your friends and ask for their input. They could probably suggest some songs that would be a perfect addition to your playlist. Music can help when you need something to lift your spirits, so get those playlists ready now!

2. Get organized

Before you shove four pairs of stinky socks into your endless abyss of your locker, think to yourself “what would Marie Kondo do.” 

You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo, she’s an advanced, humanoid robot sent from the future to teach Americans how to clean their stuff. If you want to organize your life like she does, your locker and bedroom will stay impeccably clean. 

If you’re anything like me, your life will never be that orderly, but don’t give up! You can start small.

One easy way to get organized is to use a calendar. You don’t need to buy anything fancy, just use the calendar on your phone. Find out your big due dates and events, then write them down. 

If you’re feeling really awesome today, you can take the extra step and make deadlines for yourself before the actual due dates so you remember when you should be making progress.

Be sure to add every holiday possible including September 12 Chocolate Milkshake Day, and September 16 Guacamole day!

3. Figure out what you like for breakfast

Okay, okay, I know. This one sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Breakfast is (supposedly) the most important meal of the day. Some people don’t eat breakfast, and that’s fine, but starting your day with the same routine keeps you going even when you’re down. 

Our habits can make and break our days. Some of us chew our nails when we’re nervous (guilty!). Others shower every morning. Everybody has their habits, and whatever your habits are they have the power to influence the way you perceive yourself. 

If you know the first thing you’re going to do when you get out of bed in the morning, it helps you feel like you’re in charge of your day before things start to fall apart. Figure out what that first thing is going to be and stick to it as often as possible. It won’t change your life, but it may represent something consistent that you can rely on when life feels miserable and lonely. You never know, maybe your breakfast smoothie will be the reason you get out of bed one day. 

4. Actually take notes

Here’s the scene: it’s raining. You’re sitting in class thinking about how much you want to go home and cuddle with your cat. Your teacher is talking about something you have no interest in. There’s a world-class violinist in the back playing a song to break your heart. What do you do? 

Answer: The same thing you do every day. Take notes to make the time pass faster.

There is a lot of research on how to best take notes, and I’m sure we’ll write a post on it eventually. For now, just know that “the best possible way” to take notes is whatever keeps you awake and listening. You might look through some different methods, but you can also just make up your style. Your note taking style will be yours, not your friends. 

When you’re taking notes you’ll definitely miss things, so don’t focus on getting every idea down on paper. Just write. If you need to doodle, doodle. The point is to keep your brain awake and ingesting information, even if you’re not interested in it. 

When the violin in the back makes you want to cry, you need a system to fall back on that keeps your mind moving. 

Figure out what works for you, and stick to it. 

5.  Decide how you want to be treated.

No relationships are easy. Dating relationships in particular are SUPER demanding! The start of the school year is about starting over. Make new friends and make new decisions. If you’re in a dating relationship, there might come a point where you’ll be pressured to do something that you don’t feel comfortable with. Now is the time to set boundaries for yourself and think through what choices you are going to make for your future. 

Writing your boundaries out on paper is one way to make them stick. You could even stick it to your bathroom mirror or in a closet. The goal is to make it stick in your memory so you’ll be able to stand by your goals and convictions when you need them most.  

 

These are just a few ideas, but there are tons others out there. Take the beginning of this school year to get excited for the great times and to brace yourself for hard ones. If you have any ideas of your own, let us know! We’d love to hear from you!