Personal Growth Routine Of A Special Education Teacher And Wellness Blogger
Editor’s Note: This was documented in early March.
My name is Laura Flanary and I am a special education elementary school teacher, health and wellness blogger, and I’m also a student working toward becoming a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Oh, and did I mention I am recently engaged and planning a wedding! Eeekkk so many exciting things going on.
I absolutely love being a special education teacher. Every day is different and never boring. I get to help students find their confidence, make and meet goals and put a smile on kids’ faces every day. It is awesome!
If you were to come to my house you would notice everything has a home, is labeled, and my closet is color-coordinated. You would think that I am a routine structured person, however, I tend to make plans on the fly, get swept up into projects, and get lost in my ideas. Due to this, I need structure and daily routines to keep my home and mind clutter-free so that I am able to perform my best.
Health and wellness is very important to me. I focus on getting in daily movement, eating a rainbow of nourishing foods, and finding joy in each day. Over the years I have created healthy habits that allow me to create useful time to meet the demands of my career, school, and social life all while prioritizing healthy eating, workouts, and me-time.
Don’t let me fool you into thinking I have it all together; it is a process of trial and error and adding in one or two habits at a time. When I become consistent, then I am able to add a new healthy habit to my routine. Being willing to change as my life evolves is essential. Do not get stuck in one way of doing something just because it used to work.
Having daily routines allows me to incorporate self-care throughout my day. It helps me stay calm and centered which helps keep my anxiety under control.
I have to be at carpool duty by 7:15 am, so I don’t get to have a slow morning. However, I have put daily routines in place that allow me moments of self-care that wake me up, get positive vibes going, and keep me from feeling like I’m rushing out the door. To start, this school year, I made the jump from after school workouts to morning workouts –– something I never thought I would do. You will find me waking up at 4:40 a.m., three days a week to get in my morning workout. On the days I don’t work out, I sleep till 5:30 and wash my hair.
It is really important for me to have a consistent bedtime and wake time or I struggle going to sleep and waking. Another healthy habit I incorporate every day is a smoothie for breakfast. I have been having a smoothie for breakfast for the past 10 years. My smoothies all have fiber, fat, and protein to fill me up and give me the energy to shine each day. I often add some hidden veggies in my smoothies to get in even more nutrients.
4:40 am – My alarm goes off and I do a few yoga poses (child’s pose, cat and cows) in bed to stretch it out and wake my body. Once I hop out of bed I go put in my contacts, brush my teeth, tongue scrape, and slide into legging and a sports bra. While my fiancé is getting dressed and letting the dog out, I take a few moments to do a 3-5 minute mini-meditation. It helps me clear my mind and feel steady for the day. When I finish, I thank the universe and say, “Today is going to be more magical and easier than I expect.”
Next, I go downstairs and drink my 32oz hydro flask of lemon water with a dash of pink Himalayan sea salt. We get in the car and drink our go-go juice (1 scoop pre-workout, 1 scoop glutamine powder, and 1 scoop greens powder) on the way to the gym.
5:15 am – I workout at the gym about 5 times a week. I used to work out after school but my time management has improved by going early. Working out early wakes me up, puts me in a great mood, and I feel accomplished before breakfast. My workouts consist of weight lifting. My current split is pull (back and biceps), push (chest, triceps, shoulders), legs/booty, then repeat. I take at least 2 rest days each week. I’m typically listening to hip hop music, a health/wellness podcast, or audiobook while I workout.
6:25 – Back home to make herbal tea (ginger turmeric is one of my favorites) and put my lunch box in my backpack. After, I dry brush, shower, and rub in my homemade body butter. For my skincare, I use toner, vitamin E serum, eye cream, and facial oil that soaks in while I do a quick 1-minute gua sha for lymphatic drainage. Then it’s dry shampoo, tinted moisturizer, cream blush, a swipe of eyeshadow, and mascara. Lastly, I slip into my outfit that I set out the night before and say my monthly intentions that I post on my mirror for some positive vibes. Then it is time to kiss my fiance and pet my pupper goodbye.
7:00– I run out the door with my smoothie in hand. I sip on my smoothie while jamming out to some upbeat music on the way to school. First, I have carpool duty then it is time to start teaching at 8. I have 9 groups of students each day that vary in ability and age.
10:00– Snack time! I have usually finished my herbal tea by this point and have a piece of fruit for a snack. Lately, I have been loving sumo mandarins or some kind of citrus. My choice of fruit changes with the seasons. I try to eat seasonal fruits and veggies to get a variety of nutrients.
I am a believer in daily movement and getting outside for grounding and sunshine. To stay energized and beat the afternoon slump, I get in a lot of steps each day running around school picking up my groups of students. I also have a mini trampoline in my classroom that I jump on to get me moving when I’m sluggish or for a fun break. In my classroom, we have flexible seating so I may sit on a ball, stool, or wobble board at a standing table. After school, I like to spend time outside so I can soak up as much natural light as I can.
11:30 – Lunchtime – I heat up my lunch that I meal prep each Sunday for the week. My lunch typically consists of a few types of veggies and organic chicken, turkey, or beef with some kind of sauce or spices. I also have a couple of my famous protein bites or snack balls on the side to satisfy my sweet tooth and to power me to the end of the day.
12:00 – Take a few deep belly breaths and jump back to teaching, IEP meetings, or lesson planning until the end of the school day. I try to be mindful and take deep breaths throughout my day to clear my mind and feel centered.
2:45 – School bell rings and the students go home. Before I head home I reply to all emails and when I leave school for the day, I stop checking my work email. This allows me to turn off teacher Laura for the night and recharge. Also, I always make a to-do list for the next day so that when I arrive the next morning I know what needs to be completed that day.
3:30 – Get greeted with puppy jumps and kisses when I arrive home. I take Brody out and feed him supper then unpack and repack my lunchbox for the next day. After, I prepare my smoothie for the next morning. I make a smoothie with 1 cup of almond milk, 1 tablespoon chia or flax, 1 scoop of collagen peptides, ½ scoop vanilla protein, 1-2 tablespoons nut butter, and frozen fruit, veggies, and ice cubes. I store my smoothie in a hydroflask in the fridge.
3:45 – Sunshine break! I take Brody on a 20-30 minute walk to decompress and clear my mind. Sometimes I wear my headphones when I walk so that I can call a friend or listen to audiobooks or podcasts. My favorite podcasts are The Model Health Show, Skinny Confidential, Dr. Cabral, and Almost 30.
4:15 – Change into something comfy and either have a little downtime, work on my blog, or do some studying for my Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching certification.
5:00 – My fiance arrives home! We chat and make dinner together. Most nights this is just reheating leftovers. We meal prep our lunches every Sunday and usually make dinner 2-3 times a week and then eat the leftovers or recreate it into something a little different. Lately, we have had lots of soups and chilis to stay cozy in the winter.
5:30- Eat dinner and clean up the kitchen. Make sure everything is packed and ready for the next day including filling up water bottles, put our go-go juice powder in shaker cups, and filling up the tea kettle so all I have to do is switch it on in the morning. While doing this we try and make it fun with some music, dancing, and even making silly noises.
6:30 – Depending on the night and what needs to get done I may relax or work on a project, my blog, go back to studying, or run an errand. AJ and I have movie Tuesdays each week, we either go to the movies or watch one at home.
I have difficulty winding down and shutting off my mind at night so it is essential that I have a nightly routine. I try to avoid blue light from phones, TV, or computer, but that is not often an option. To combat the effects of blue light I wear blue light glasses and use a blue light filter on my computer and phone. One of my favorite things are my light bulbs that change color. I have my bedroom, bathroom, and den set so the lightbulbs turn red at 8:00. The change in light helps transition me to out of go mode. Taking time to move my body slowly, reflect on the positives of the day, and prepare for the next day eases me into sleep.
8:30 – I shower, brush and floss teeth, and complete my nightly skincare. First, I cleanse my face first with my homemade oil cleanser then follow up with this cleanser, toner, peel pad or Retin-A cream. Next I apply my eye cream,face oil using a jade roller to roll the oil deep into my skin, and an overnight lip mask. Then I set out my clothes for the gym and for school the next day.
8:55 – My mind is always racing with thoughts and ideas so I have to calm down my brain. I start by reading a page from the Daily Stoic. Next, I write down my happies of the day in my journal. My happies include anything that made me smile, feel loved, or accomplished. My journal is a Happy Planner that I put stickers and write in with flair pens. Afterward, AJ and I do some light yoga stretching, tell each other why we appreciate one another, and I may even do another 3-minute mini-meditation to wind down.
9:20 – If I have time or know I’m going to have trouble falling asleep I read a chapter in a fiction novel. Currently, I am reading The Last Romantics.
9:30 – I tell Google night night to set the alarm, kiss my man goodnight, and then off to sweet dreams.
Weekends I make every effort to take a break from work and have downtime. However, I do prepare for the week. Friday afternoon or Saturday morning we go grocery shopping for the next week. Then on Sunday, it is meal prep for our workweek lunches and we clean the house. It takes about 2-3 hours to cook everything then clean the entire house and is so worth every minute. Having a clean space and healthy food prepared sets the tone for a successful week.