Back, back, back to school they go!
It may be your oldest child’s first day of Kindergarten or your baby’s first day of college, either way, back to school means the same thing for everyone. Stress.
The stress of watching them leave and worrying about their safety, the stress of rushing home for the bus, feeding everyone, as you’re running from activity to activity and the stress of school projects, parent teacher meetings, homework and school lunches. I have heard from parents and teachers through the years that September is a dreaded month and I have grown to understand why. Here are my top 5 Tips to help you get through the Back to School Season.
1. Get yourself into bed. Getting the kids back on a bedtime routine is commonly discussed and executed, but we fail to do the same for ourselves. Lack of rest will exasperate stress, weaken the immune system and cause crankiness. Pick a time slot that is realistic for you and put yourself to bed. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep, and more importantly, try to keep a similar pattern every night. You will find yourself more energized, focused and happier.
2. Make their lunch…and yours. School lunches are not all that appealing. I have yet to hear a child rave over how delicious, nutritious and filling they are. Many times the lunch is half eaten, half thrown away, and then snack and drinks are purchased. This averages to about $5.50-$6 per day, per child. And what are you eating for lunch? Does a deli sandwich, fast food or a sugar filled muffin sound familiar? Save yourself money and time by prepping your lunch and your child’s lunch together. It’s a win, as you will both have healthier, tastier and more fulfilling options.
3. Say no. Something I say to my own children, which I also now say to myself, is that “you can do anything but you cannot do everything”. I know you try to fit it all in, say yes to the birthday parties, play chauffer 7days a week, coach softball, be the mystery reader and volunteer for the PTA, all while holding down the house, a job and your sanity. Of course, say yes to what’s uniquely important to you and your child. But say no to the extra play date, say no to the bake sale and say no to anything else that will add to family burn out.
4. Take 2. Two hours, that is. You have a schedule board, agenda or calendar that holds all your appointments, activities, lists and notes. Purposely schedule 2 hours in the week, every week, for nothing. This will force you to tackle a project you’ve been putting off, watch a family movie, go for a walk or just unwind a bit. It throws the most amazing monkey wrench into your extremely busy life.
5. Switch it up. Stress feeds off stagnancy. If you have the same daily routine and feel stressed out, a good way to alleviate that is to change something. Try to adjust your routine somehow, even if it’s switching your morning coffee spot or changing your music station in the car! You can try to add in a 5 minute daily meditation, 20 minute of exercise, or a yoga class. Remember, any movement is better than no movement, so even if you start small, changing things up can be a great way to reduce stress!