5 tips to get you through school and a full time job! (or any busy season!)

I know that I have been away for a while, and that is because I had a busy season within my life. I planned a wedding and got married! I moved twice! I got into a graduate school program and earned my degree. All while still teaching 9th grade English full time. 

This blog, formerly known as everydaylicious, has truly helped me turn everyday delicious, but not just from a food standpoint. It helped me to find value outside of work and learn that making life amazing is a daily choice. Now that I have taken a step back, I realize that cooking and recipes are just a piece of the puzzle. I truly wish to bring joy to educators, and busy people alike. Moving forward my blog will be a platform to share lessons learned throughout life in hopes to help others nourish their mind and body to affect their classroom.

For my inaugural blog post, I want to share how I survived such a busy season with my mental health intact. Here are some tips I learned along the way. Hopefully this will help you with any busy season that you’re in.

This busy season culminated in me graduating from The University of Texas with a Masters in Educational Leadrship and Policy

1. Be Kind to yourself!

If you are not your cheerleader, then you very well may be your enemy. This seems like a simple tip, but I chose to put it first because without this, I feel like it doesn’t matter what you do because you will always feel like you are not good enough. I was hit hard with imposter syndrome when I started my school work. It took me a long time to realize that I need to talk myself up! I started putting positive sticky notes all over my house saying things like “You got this!” and “You go Glen Coco!” It worked to remind myself that I am doing my best, and that is enough which leads to more productivity and the push I need to complete tasks.

2. Lean on others!

You are not alone. Speak to your professors, lean on your classmates, lean on your friends and support system. I did my graduate program with a cohort, so it was easy for me to identify those who I can reach out to when I needed clarification or motivation, but even if you do not have a cohort to lean on, I strongly encourage you to find your people or person because they could be the difference between you giving up and finishing strong. Put your pride and competitive nature away, and ask for help!

3. The slow cooker is your best friend!

With a full time job, a new marriage, and a full time course load, finding time to eat is one of the most challenging things to do. I did not want to fall into a cycle where I am getting fast food every day because my wallet and my body could not handle that. I leaned on slow cooker meals to set it and forget it.The food would either be done when I woke up to pack and take to work for lunch, or I would set it in the morning, and come home to a meal just before I had to hop on zoom for a class!

4. Find a system that works for you!

I made the best purchase when I bought my ipad because I knew that I needed somewhere I could store all of my notes and reading materials. I downloaded the “good notes” app which allowed me to electronically take my lecture notes and import my pdf’s from the syllabus where I could highlight and make notes on them just as if they were paper. I also downloaded all of my books on kindle to read on my ipad. This made it convenient. If I had my ipad, I knew I had all of my study materials, and I didnt have to worry about leaving anything anywhere. 

I stress that you should also have a system for your personal care. If you do not make time for things that feed your soul, you will run out of steam before your reach the finish line. Take your mental, emotional, and spiritual health just as seriously as you take the health of your GPA. Schedule it in your calendar, and actually do it. If something comes up, you can move it, but don’t cancel it. Trust me it is worth it.

5. Lastly, Balance is the best option.

Sometimes I would have to say no to things that I really wanted to do. Sometimes I knew that I needed to press a little harder because I had overlapping deadlines, but if I did have to push harder, I would be intentional about my rest. Understand that there are ebbs and flows to your work. You cannot poush 100% all the time at anything and expect to endure with your mental health. Give yourself a plan for how you are going to set boundaries and say no to some stuff when it is difficult.

Thank you!

Remember, you’re amazing just for being you. I hope these ideas help you in your journey and remember, mind, body and then you can worry about the classroom.

How to Actually Eat What You Buy!

How to Actually Eat What You Buy!

One thing I struggle with is eating what I buy. I don’t know how, but I would always end up opening Uber Eats, hitting up a drive through, or picking up take out even though I have TONS of food in my fridge. I was in denial until one day, I sat down with my financial planner and faced the reality; I was spending HUNDREDS of dollars on food a month and, trust me, as a teacher, I could not afford to maintain that lifestyle.

So, I went on a mission to find out how to actually consume what I bought from the grocers. Now, I’m not perfect, and sometimes things still go to waste, but I will say since I’ve been more intentional about my food habits, I have improved. Improved enough to think my tips might be of service to you if your struggling like I was. I hope they aid you in your quest to make Everydaylicious!

Planning is Key!

  • Grocery shop in meals: When I planned out my meals before I went to the grocery store, it made me be more intentional with what bought. When I am staring at my fridge, I know exactly why I decided to buy an item which meant that I was far more likely to actually use it.
  • Be honest about your cravings: When I was honest about what I’m actually craving, then I could plan accordingly and keep those items, or an alternative, on hand. For example: I knew that I randomly craved sweets, so, instead of running out to get ice cream or a cookie, I made sure to keep an alternative in my home. I keep Larabars, bananas with chocolate, and agave to top rice cakes! Sometimes, I do plan to splurge, and I’ll buy Mochi ice cream, or cookies in cream. Not only does it keep me away from ordering or eating out, I also make sure that my splurge doesn’t fall into a junk food spiral because it was planned as a treat!
  • Plan to ‘treat yo’ self’: One of the motives that would drive me away from my pantry and to the delivery apps was that little voice in the back of my head saying, “I deserve to treat myself! I work hard! YOLO” (Yes, that reference is old, but I love Drake lol) So, it hit me one day that I should plan to buy items from the grocery store that would satisfy that impulse. Some of my “treat yo’ self” items include mochi ice cream (yes, I love mochi haha), special cheeses to make an at home charcuterie board, hot chocolate (because I am a child), and sparkling water (because I am also an adult).
  • HAVE FUN!: My last planning tip is to have fun! If I planned something new and exciting to cook, then I was far more likely to cook it because I was excited about eating the food. Whether I planned an old favorite or a new experiment, being excited about my meal made me more likely to cook and enjoy it!

Make it Visible

  • Post a list on the fridge: I love to post a list of all of my meals, snacks, and sweets on the fridge, so I don’t forget what I bought and when I feel like “I don’t have anything to eat” I can remind myself that that’s a lie! It’s simple, but it works!
  • Organize your fridge and pantry: Two years ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Yes, I read the actual book after binge watching her show Tidying Up on Netflix. Yes, I read an entire book on cleaning lol. What I learned is that if you can see your items, you are more likely to use them. So, I organized my spice racks, my pantry, and my fidge in a way that I could see and know how much of what I have. While “tidying up” I discovered that I had duplicates of SO MANY ITEMS. I didn’t need to buy canned tomatoes for weeks, and I had enough garlic salt to last me a year!

Practice Grace

  • One phrase that I like to use is, “No mistakes, only gifts.” I first heard this in Judy Holler’s book Fear is My Homeboy. (It is an impactful read, and I would definitely recommend you pick up a copy or download the audio book.) This saying is a reminder that mistakes are just data. This also applies to the kitchen! If you end up not eating what you bought and still running to take out, take a step back, evaluate what happened, and try again with a new gameplan. I am confident that eventually, you will find a system and a combination that works for you!

Thank you!

Again, thank you so much for reading. It fills me with deep joy and gratitude that people take the time to read my writing. I hope that this was encouraging and added value to your lives. As always, don’t forget to make Everydaylicious.