Use your desk as a center for inspiration to become healthy and fit.
Last Year's Desk: Nothing but a pile of work
Info: Links to American Heart Association Recommendations
Feature by Carol Goodrow, KR/RW
2001-2002 SCHOOL YEAR
This year I'm moving back to Parker School to teach special education. It's my old school, my old room...my past, but I'm headed there with a new attitude. So where does one start when one wants to change old habits to make them better? I've decided to start with my desk.
My excuses: I have been the master of excuses when it comes to the tidiness (or untidiness) of my desk.
Excuse number 1: I'm too creative. I have too many ideas, popping into my head, so that I move from one activity to the next without tidying up.
Excuse number 2: I just love to work with my kids. I'd rather be with them than fussing with the paperwork.
This year, I decided to do things differently. I opted for the table approach. We'll all have tables in my classroom, which will be tidied before we leave on a daily basis. For me, it will mean that I'll have to discipline myself right from the start. I'll have to plan where the ungraded papers are kept, where the kids turn in their folders, and where I keep my millions of daily memos that duplicate the school emails I receive. For the kids, it will mean that there will be no desks to stuff with unfinished papers, broken crayons, forbidden toys, and that there will be no hoarding of pencils.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE ANTIQUATED DESK?
Now that my room is organized and ready for the school year, I'm wondering what to do with the empty desk that I've used over the years. I could send it to the storeroom or cover it with plants, but I've decided to turn it into a center of inspiration, to remind me to find a way to stay healthy and fit in the midst of my could-be sedentary lifestyle: Web designer, kids editor, and teacher. So here's the plan. Actually anyone can try this. Maybe you can try this too!
BUILD A MINI-LIBRARY
Keep the current issues of health magazines on top of the desk. Try Prevention magazine as a start. This mag is full of ideas for changing your lifestyle one step at a time to become a healthier individual. Next to it place Runner's World with easy tips for maintaining or getting started on a running career. And don't be without the newsletter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), on the latest findings in nutrition. Use this for healthful tidbits to teach your kids. Add a cookbook that features heart-healthy meals. Plan your evening meal here or your after school grocery shopping.
TURN THE CLOCK BACK
Instead of the usual 'family' desk photo, put an alarm clock and a photo of yourself at a younger age and a lesser weight on your desk. Turn the clock back a little now and make it your motto to turn the clock back a little more every month.
BE PREPARED WITH EXERCISE GEAR
Fill a drawer with an extra set of exercise gear: shoes, socks, running pants, singlet, jacket, gloves and a dry change of clothes. Make it a goal to always keep the drawer stuffed to the brim, so that you can never use the excuse that you don't have your gear at school.
TURN A DRAWER INTO A CUPBOARD
Keep some healthy snacks in another drawer. Tuck away fruit, whole grain bread, rice cakes, energy bars, and a note to yourself that your veggies are in the refrigerator ready to be snacked on. Keep another note in the drawer reminding you that eating more fruits and veggies will help prevent diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Make sure that your kids know about the kinds of food that you keep in your snack drawer so that they can model their snacks after yours.
ADVERTISE WITH A WATER BOTTLE
Keep your favorite water bottle on top of your desk for lots of sipping. Use one with a brand that makes you feel good and promotes a product that you love. Try a CLINQUE water bottle if you are into pretty and wrinkle-free skin, a SATURN container if you are into cycling or those cute little sports cars, or just a plain colored one (your favorite color, of course). Consider allowing your kids to bring in water bottles to keep on their desks.
LIVE YOUR CALENDAR
Don't keep your plan book on this desk, but do keep a special desk calendar. Make sure to choose one with inspirational quotes or phrases. Do random acts of kindness do it for you? Find a calendar with kindness quotes. Do you love Mary Englebreit stuff? Her pages are permeated with optimism both in the form of text and drawings.
Schedule some sort of an exercise period every day in your calendar and draw a heart on each page reminding yourself of the Heart Association's recommendations to stay healthy and fit. Give yourself a star or sticker if you stick to your exercise plans. Share this with your students. Show them that you are trying to do the best that you can do.
This calendar can double as a journal. Keep notes on your exercise that will inspire you to keep going.
FAMILY SCRAPBOOK OR PHOTO ALBUM
Keep a little memoir of your loved ones in your desk. Remind yourself that your loved ones are part of the reason that you need to stay healthy and live longer. Leave some empty pages to add new family members. Every new decade could bring new in-laws, grandchildren or even great grandchildren. Watch your family grow. Find a page to write a little message that shows that they are part of your reason for being the best that you can be.
Don't forget the family dog. Spot needs you around and he loves to exercise too. Use Spot's photo to remind you to take him for regular walks before, during, or after your exercise period.
STORY OF A ROLE MODEL
Stash away a book or article about a role model that inspires you. Remember when you were young and kept pictures of movie stars? Do the same but find a story of a woman who lost weight by walking, or perhaps an article about a man who started a running program to prevent heart disease. Look at this when you need the little dose of inspiration.
DO YOUR SHOPPING HERE
Browse through some good clothing catalogs which you keep at this desk. They should feature teacher jumpers which are loose enough that allow you to join your class on an easy run at the drop of a hat or exercise gear which you can add to your stash in your desk drawer.
INCLUDE YOUR SCHOOL KIDS
If you are implementing healthy snack, start a list of healthy foods and the kid(s) who brought them in. Keep your list in a notebook, a special scrapbook with their drawings or a photo album. Make it a goal to be able to eventually include every child in this project.
Try to get to school early enough that you can spend about 5 minutes at this special desk before your kids arrive. Update your calendar, plan your day of exercise, and make a note in your journal.
Make it a rule that you are approachable by students when you are at this special desk. Be willing to answer their questions on all your 'stuff' you keep there.
Try to spend a good 5 or 10 minutes at this desk after school to unwind.
1. Don't drink coffee at this desk. Save the coffee for your regular work table.
2. Don't have a parent conference here.
3. This is not a place to grade papers or work with kids on academics.
4. Don't place your computer on this desk.
1. Visit it often.
2. Add some classical music via tape or CD player.
3. Have someone photograph you at your desk.
4. Do add a vase of fresh flowers every now and then.
Resources, references, and links about exercise recommendations.
The AHA recommends that people work up to 30 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise on a daily basis.
The AHA recommends that kids participate in family outings that incorporate exercise.
Statement For All Americans
Exercise is essential to and benefits all Americans.