6 easy steps to keep yourself from lighting the world on fire

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I was in a meeting today that upset me, and by that I mean that it made me want to hire a rickshaw to run me around the whole world while I sit in the back with a giant blowtorch, setting everything that comes in my path ablaze. 

I have noticed that on Bad Meeting Morning days, I tend to be really grouchy with my students.  This is unfair because I believe that no one should see my wrath unless they’ve really earned it.  So, I have created a routine for myself to transition back to normalcy after I am frustrated, and I would like to share that routine with you now.  

1) Cover your eyes and take 15 deep breaths.

This makes me think I’m back in the womb, where I had time to take deep breaths and it was dark.

2) Listen to nature sounds.  

How can you be mad at anything when you’re hiking* through a rainforest or near a babbling brook?  If you are a teacher, put nature sounds on while your students are doing anything. If you’re not a teacher, just put a pair of noise cancelling headphones on and tell people you’re sorry, you can’t remove them because you’re having your ears dilated.

Here is a link to my nature playlist.  I used it today with my students and it was like they'd been drugged.

If this joyful baby donkey doesn't make you smile, you should probably gather your things and call it a day.

4) Eat some peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets.

 Imagine them as the heads of the people who are annoying you.  Tip: ration yourself so that you don’t accidentally eat half of a family-sized large plastic barrel in one sitting. 

5) Think about the adults who are annoying you as mermaids (or mermen) who have been banished to an aquarium at a local restaurant and must perform for their food. If this is too weird for you, think of them as taxidermy, mounted to the wall of a place you never visit.  If this is too weird for you, think of them as baby versions of themselves.

6) Smell something nice.  

If I was rich I would keep a bottle of lavender essential oil in my desk, but since I am poor I spray some purple Febreze, which is also lovely. Side note: once I saw an episode of a show where a woman was addicted to smelling the head of a baby doll. You may do this if it pleases you.

I hope that you remember this the next time you have a Bad Morning Meeting, or whatever in your career or life makes you want to go on an international blowtorching rickshaw excursion.



*I almost spelling this "haiking"!  What a day.


  1. I like it, L,T!
    #5 is my very own fave because I put everyone into a cartoon that runs in my head. Makes them all appear very stupid, which of course they are, but now hey, they're cartoons!
    I also like #1 because I never thought of that before! Good one!

  2. I just discovered your blog - perfect timing! I have a Bad Meeting Day coming up next week and I always find myself being unintentionally mean to my kiddos after... time to break out the purple Febreze and baby donkeys!

  3. This is excellent. I shall have to implement some of these next time I'm feeling irritated.

  4. I love you. In a non-creepy platonic way. Your blog always serves as a nice destresser. :)

  5. I'm not a teacher, but I recently stumbled on your blog and love your style of writing.

    Re the nature sounds tip, I began listening to the playlist you made this morning as I was getting ready for my day, and I remembered this cool site I'd heard about a while back:


    It's a calming, background noise generator: it gives you a bunch of pre-recorded nature sounds and you can mix as many of them together as you want and adjust the volume for each one (leaves + rain is my favorite :). The background also changes into different soothing colors randomly and it even has a text editor built into the site so you can write while staring at the calming colors (apparently it's called "chromotherapy").

    Hope it bring a little more peace into you and your students' worlds!

  6. @ Elisa, noisli=new favorite toy. Thanks

  7. Loving this blog - we share the same random and dark sense of humor and I think it works in our favor during the long days. You rock.

    Love, Teaching for seven 'effing years.

  8. Can you cover your eyes and start the deep breathing while in the Bad Meeting? This year has been so full of exceptionally Bad Meetings that my colleague has had to talk the blowtorch out of my hands on numerous occasions. I'm so glad I'm not the only person who felt this way. I thought I was going crazy. I actually have a tiny bottle of lavender oil. I'm going to dab some on my wrist before going into the meetings and start deep breathing immediately.

  9. This system works extremely well for other jobs. I'm the personal assistant for a big-time lawyer and I have many, many Bad Meeting Mornings (in fact, I JUST came out of one). #5 is my favorite: I have NO trouble imagining all these annoying lawyers as banished mermaids and mermen performing for their food. Work it, Mer Person!

    Fact: Bickering attorneys are like bickering adolescents.

    Oh, where art thou, Family-Size Barrel of Peanut-Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets?

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