Ushering the kids back to school is an exciting time, but one also fraught with fresh to-do lists, practice and game schedules and various extracurricular activities from galas to tailgates — all of which aim to sabotage precious down time. They also can make you feel overwhelmed, irritable and exhausted.
No doubt, plugging back into a rigorous schedule is challenging after a few months filled with sun and surf, northern vacations, backyard parties and lakeside relaxation. Such a quick and abrupt change in a routine can take its toll, but it doesn’t have to. Early preparation and organizing a chockfull schedule in manageable steps will help you sail into fall with energy and purpose.
Here are a few things to consider as you aim for a smooth back-to-school transition:
Ease into an earlier bedtime
Everyone in your household will likely be required to get their days started earlier. Don’t wait until the night before to turn in early. It’s not going to work. You and the rest of your family will toss and turn and spend the following day in zombie-like states. It takes days to shift Circadian rhythms, so try hitting the hay 10-15 minutes earlier each night leading up to go time, so everyone will feel rested and refreshed for the long day ahead.
Prime the day with a healthy breakfast
A healthy breakfast provides energy for the day by way of nutrients that fuel the body. You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There is truth in that. A high fiber and lean protein breakfast will help you feel more mentally alert and will provide the basis to physically persevere from sunrise to sunset.
Reflect on and re-tool goals
Did you make a summer bucket list of activities to counterbalance your poolside chill time with friends? Hopefully you checked most of them off your list, but a turn of seasons is an ideal time to reflect and to plan for the months ahead. Reward yourself, big or small, every time you accomplish something on your list, which will keep your momentum in check. Writing down goals also will motivate you on a daily basis to keep focused on those targets.
Establish a workout routine
If your summertime exercise activities ratchet down from your usual structured routine, hit the ground running (pun intended) and re-establish your fitness plan. This fits with goal-making because it might be time to seek out a new regimen. If you have like-minded friends, join together to start something new. Being active increases happiness through mood-boosting chemical secretion, which in turn charges energy levels. You’ll do more than just “get through the day.” Your increased blood flow will allow your brain to function better almost immediately.
It’s important to note that every person is different, and getting back into the swing of the school year is all about finding what works best for you and your family. If you plan on working out a few times a week, decide which days and times are realistic. Make adjustments so you can optimize the week.
These tips are aimed to minimize the feeling that your schedule is ruling you instead of the other way around. Making a few program tweaks and better preparing for new commitments and activities can deliver big benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s to a happy, organized and healthy you!