32 Ways to Start the School Year Right

Chris Lutes
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Dare we say the word? School. Yeah, it's time to get back to those mounds of books and piles of papers. Stressed yet? We hope not. In fact, we've pulled together 32 good ideas for starting your school year off right—and keeping stress from turning into burnout. Give some of 'em a try.


  1. Jump up and down in a mud puddle with a friend. Why? It's stupid. It'll make both of you laugh.
  2. Keep a journal. It's a great way to express some of those hidden feelings.
  3. Write a poem.
  4. Say hello to God. And say, "Thanks!" "Help!" "I'm sorry!" or "I'm stressed!" Talk to God openly, talk to him honestly, talk to him about your out-of-control schedule. Just talk to him.
  5. Spend time with a funny friend. Are you someone who's always listening to other people's problems? Then you need to spend time with someone who simply gives you a good laugh.
  6. Tape crazy cartoons to the inside of your locker.
  7. Write down important stuff in pencil. Jot down deadlines and activities in a planner or calendar. Why in pencil? Well …
  8. Erase! When you find yourself doing two things at once (even two very good things), you've gotta let something go. If you don't, well, then you'll join the "Burnout Club." Don't overload your schedule. Don't plan every minute away. And be careful! Don't do away with all the fun stuff.
  9. Don't skip meals. Yeah, we know, this sounds like mom-talk. But you can't keep going without three decent meals a day.
  10. Scream! There are times when you just feel like you gotta yell. So close your door and do it. (But warn your family first!)
  11. Escape into a cool novel.
  12. Join a club. It's a great way to meet new friends.
  13. Move your muscles. Yeah, exercise. No, this is not your gym teacher speaking. It's a fact—your bod and your brain need it.
  14. Stare at the ceiling. There are times when it's nice to do nothing.
  15. Pop a balloon.
  16. Spin in circles. Are you the kind of person who never changes the way you do things? Get up right now and spin around in a dozen circles. Dizzy? Feels kind of good, doesn't it?
  17. Be a pedestrian. When you're close enough to walk, don't drive. Your legs will appreciate it.
  18. Make goofy faces in a mirror. It's good to learn to laugh at yourself.
  19. Pet your dog. Or your cat, gerbil or whatever. Your pet will appreciate it, and it's a good way to reconnect with an old buddy.
  20. Slow down.
  21. Change your scenery. Do you always walk the same way to school? Do you always drive the same road to the library or 7-Eleven? Get a fresh look at the world—and your neighborhood—by taking a different route.
  22. Build an everlasting friendship. A good devotional life isn't about guilt—like, "You better read your Bible 20 minutes a day or else!" It's about building a friendship with the One who created you. (Need suggestions for Bible reading and study? See "Faith Builders" on page 10.)
  23. Push "random" on your CD player.
  24. Create a checklist. Doing this will help you realize what you need to do in a day. And it feels great to be able to actually check something off.
  25. Treat yourself to your favorite dessert.
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