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We all know that ‘back to school’ feeling. It’s glorious. There’s something about those freshly sharpened pencils, empty notebooks waiting to be filled, a whole school-year of learning and possibility ahead. One of the worst parts of growing up is that you no longer get that fresh start of going back to school. Unless you’re a teacher or a coach, work is pretty much year round. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on that fresh start entirely. Here are some tips for how to get that back to school feeling when you’re not in school anymore, and maybe haven’t been in years.

Revamp Your Routine

One of the best parts of going back to school was jumping back into a routine after a summer full of long days and relaxed schedules. Most people don’t love the idea of getting up early, going to bed early, and having to show up at school (or work) at a certain time, but there’s something so decadent about a sturdy schedule and routine.  Here are some things to consider when it comes to revamping your routine.

  • Take a look at your mornings.

Are you getting up early enough to do the things you need to? Are you getting a healthy breakfast every day? Do you start the day with the most important things first? Are you packing your lunch? Figure out what time you need to wake up in order to do everything you need to before it’s time to leave.

  • Take a look at you evenings.

Are you getting enough sleep? Now that you’ve set your morning routine and figured out what time you need to wake up, work backwards to figure out what time you need to go to bed. Write out what your ideal evening routine looks like. Do you put out clothes for the next day? Do you pack lunch the night before? Do you read a book every night? Figure out how much time it’ll take and set a timer in your phone to go off every night when you should be starting your evening routine.

Start a new exercise routine

One thing that a lot of people look forward to when going back to school is the sports and activities that will take place. Did you love PE as a kid? Try to channel that feeling by starting a new exercise routine. Whether it’s running solo, signing up for indoor soccer, or meeting your friend for tennis every Saturday, starting a new exercise routine will definitely give you that back to school feeling. 

Clean out your purse or bag

This was always such an exciting part of the back to school feeling: having a clean, oftentimes brand new backpack to store all your things. You can channel this exciting back to school feeling by cleaning out your current purse. If it’s really needing an update, use this as an opportunity to buy a new one.

Refresh your “school supplies” (aka pens, notebooks, etc.) 

Vying for first place in my favorite things about going back to school as a kid is fresh school supplies. Sadly, we have no need to get fresh colored pencils and mechanical pencils and notebooks every August now that we’ve been out of school for years. Or do we?

We can certainly use this season as an opportunity to revamp our stores. First get rid of all the icky or broken pens. Those ugly ones from the bank that don’t even write well? Definitely get rid of those. This is your fresh start. You probably have way too many pens anyways, so keep only the ones that you love.

Next, refresh your supply. There’s no need to go all out. Even a small investment can give you that back to school feeling. These are my current favorite pens right now, though I also have my eye on these ones. Take stock of any other office or school supplies you might need and take advantage of all the sales going on right now. I just bought this pretty thing and am looking forward to filling it up! 

Clean out your closet (or just clean it up) 

For many kids, going back to school usually meant new clothes or shoes. I’m a firm believer in not buying too many clothes, but you don’t have to actually buy new clothes in order to get that feeling. Go through your closets and drawers and pull out things you don’t love. Then organize what you have left. You might even consider cleaning some of the perfectly good shoes you have that might just be a little bit dusty or worn-looking. Going through my closet and drawers often reminds me of how many clothes I already have that I really love, and I often think of new ways to style things that I hadn’t thought of before. 

Maybe after going through your closet you realized that there’s a piece or two that’s sorely lacking or that could add a little versatility to your wardrobe. A couple small pieces can make your whole wardrobe feel new. I like to look on ThredUp for high-quality yet inexpensive pieces. This referral link will give you $10 off your first order! 

Write your own curriculum

Maybe your favorite part of going back to school was anticipating all the things you would learn about your favorite subject in the coming year. I adored finding out the reading list for my English classes and happily anticipated that (math and science not so much). Create a little bit of anticipation for yourself by creating a list of things you want to read over the next semester, year, or season. You can check out my Fall Reading List for inspiration.

Invest in a course

Hand in hand with writing your own reading list is investing in a course to go through. Think about what skills or topics you’ve been wanting to learn more about. You might not be in school anymore, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop learning. Invest in a course or try out something like Skillshare. Here are some ideas for subjects to learn more about: 

  • Nutrition
  • Hand-lettering
  • Photography
  • Blogging
  • Cooking
  • Personal finance

I’m currently going through a course from Create and Go on blogging and learning so much. 

Check your credit score

There’s something about that back to school feeling that makes you want to get your life in order. Checking your credit history is definitely one way to do that. You can get a free credit report once a year, so the “back to school” time period might be a good time to do it every year. You can learn more about all the credit score basics here

Get back on track financially

Summer can reeeeeeally hurt the budget. Going over your finances and coming up with a plan for the last quarter of the year can make you feel in control and on top of things, two things which definitely are part of that back to school feeling. 

Start saving for the holidays too. I know it’s ridiculously early, but Christmas can be expensive. There’s no reason you should be caught unawares as it happens at the same time every year.

Clean out your spaces

We already talked about cleaning out your closet for that brand new wardrobe feeling. That sparkly clean, freshly decorated classroom that your teacher worked so hard on is also part of the back to school feeling. Channel that by cleaning out your own workspaces. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • office
  • bookshelves
  • kitchen junk drawer
  • mail system
  • bulletin board
  • calendar

Get a haircut

Lots of kids get fresh haircuts before going back to school every year. If it’s been a while since you had your last cut, schedule an appointment! Nothing feels fresher than getting rid of all those split ends. A fresh color always feels good too.

Make a back to school playlist

Or at least just a playlist for the new season. There’s something about music that defines a certain part of our lives. Be proactive and decide how this season is going to feel for you when you look back. 

Reconnect with friends or make new ones

One of the most exciting things about going back to school was knowing that you were about to reconnect with all your friends that you hadn’t seen all summer. I’ve  discovered that when it comes to seeing your friends, adult life isn’t all that different. So many people travel during the summer and it’s hard to get schedules to align. Send out some texts and plan some time to reconnect with friends during the next few weeks. You’ll all be so glad you did!

Set Positive Expectations

So much of how we experience the world is a result of what we think about. Expect great things from the coming year and you surely won’t be disappointed. I’m not talking about expecting that you’ll win the lottery or meet your soulmate or anything completely out of your hands like that. Expect that you’ll learn new things. Expect that you’ll work hard. Expect that you’ll build friendships. Those are all within your control and having a positive expectation makes them that much more likely to happen. 

What are your plans? 

I’d love eto hear about how you plan to use this back to school feeling this season. Leave a comment and let me know.

Are you on Pinterest?

I pin tons and tons of ideas about all these things. I’d love to connect with you there! You can find all my great pins here.

How to get that Back to School feeling when you aren't in school anymore - Getting Back into a Routine, set learning goals, and prepare for the fall season |

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