Never too old for that back-to-school feeling

Apple and chalkboard - Never too old for that back-to-school feelingIt’s that time of year when summer begins to bow to fall. (Although for those of us in North America’s northeast, summer barely made a cameo this year). And even if it’s been years since you cracked open a textbook and you don’t have kids of your own to prep for the new academic year, I’ve found you’re never too old for that back-to-school feeling. From the ubiquitous displays of school supplies in stores to the endless parade of TV commercials trumpeting the annual migration back to class, it’s hard not to get swept up in the feeling.

But if it’s been a long time since you had the chance to start something new (school year or not), back to school can feel more like back to the rut. Rather than getting into a funk, consider these ways to enjoy the best of back to school, with no homework involved…

  1. Do some not-going-back-to-school shopping.
fall footwear - Never too old for that back-to-school feeling

Walk in style (and comfort) with a pair of brogues, a footwear trend for fall 2014.

Shopping for new school supplies and clothes was always my favourite part of heading back to class. The beauty of buying a thing or two for your fall wardrobe as an adult is that you can buy whatever pleases your eye (bank account limits aside) rather than through the filter of peer pressure.

Wondering what to put on your shopping list? Consider a pair of brogues to step stylishly (and comfortably) into fall 2014. (Apologies if that sounded like peer pressure, but I’m just excited when flat shoes are in fashion!)

When shopping for fall staples, don’t forget to adjust your skin care to autumn’s drier and cooler air, and milder sun. For example, I’ve been using an SPF 60 all summer, but have recently sampled Arbonne RE9 Advanced Restorative Day Crème with SPF 20, which provides UVA/UVB protection, purported collagen-supporting properties and is paraben- and phthalate-free. I haven’t used it long enough to notice long-term results, but love the fresh orange fragrance (orange-peel oil is an ingredient) as well as the juicy look of my skin.

2. Go on a field trip.

It didn’t matter whether we were headed to the museum, the zoo or a historical site, class trips were treasured mainly because they were a get-out-of-class card without the downside of getting nabbed for skipping school.

Alas, as adults we don’t get breaks in our routine planned for us in the name of education, so it’s up to us to organize them for ourselves. Recently my husband and I did just that with an overnight to Niagara Falls, New York. The quick road trip featured outlet shopping, a sampling of Buffalo’s classic dish, beef on weck, and naturally, a trip to the famous falls. While it may not have been the most educational adventure, the change in scenery helped recharge our batteries. So, why not plan your own field trip? If you can only budget a few hours, consider visiting an attraction in your town you’ve never been to or going back to a neglected old haunt.

Whether you bring the family, friends or go solo, the point is to break up your routine (without having to hand in a report when you return).

  1. Learn something.
Languages - Never too old for that back-to-school feeling

Research shows that one of the best ways to keep our brains young is to learn a second language.

As much as school often forced us to study subjects we had little interest and/or affinity for (I’m talking about you, Grade 11 physics), it’s clear that learning something new benefits the brain.  A study from the University of Edinburgh, for example, reported in the June 2014 issue of the Annals of Neurology, indicates that learning a second language, even later in life, may help slow cognitive decline.

Other research indicates that keeping your brain active in any way helps the aging brain. If languages aren’t your thing, learning, for example, how to play the guitar, knit or tango will also challenge your noggin.

  1. Get social.

Going back to school was exciting because of the promise of reconnecting with friends as well the prospect of meeting new ones. (Of course, it also meant having to see that mean girl again you were oh so happy to be rid of for two months). While for many of us being social today means checking our Facebook, school allowed us to connect face-to-face with dozens of different people every day. So while you may interact with family, co-workers and clients daily, how often do you get to socialize in person with your besties or even make a new pal? Turn that around by booking a brunch with old friends or inviting a new acquaintance to coffee.

I hope these ideas help you manage that never too old for that back-to-school feeling. If not, be thankful the pop quizzes and ugly gym clothes are behind you. And if you have any of your own rituals to commemorate this time of year, please share them below.

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