Getting Prepared for Back-to-School
Use these 3 tips to stay sane and healthy during the stressful month of September.
As the last hazy August days slip away for another year and the Sunday afternoon of summer ends, hectic September comes rushing in with its early mornings, crisp weather, and new notebooks. January 1 may mark the day to begin New Year’s resolutions, but the real beginning of the year is back-to-school time. This year, stress is out and self-care is in.
Invest in a solid planner to organize your days down to the minute and to keep lists of goals. Check out Passion Planner for a goal planner with a purpose, Plum Paper to create your own planner, or Ban.do for the cutest covers. Use the list areas in your planner to make daily to-do lists, and use this tip to avoid stressing yourself out over long lists: prioritize by starring three or four tasks that need to be completed that day, and focus on the other things last. Encourage the kids, once they’re old enough, to make to-do lists as well for their daily homework tasks. Keep the whole family’s schedules organized and synchronized with a big dry erase wall calendar, like this one from Wall Pops.
Designate an organized area of the house, like the family office or the kitchen table, as the “work area”. Keep the area clean and neat, and have the kids do their homework only in this area of the house to help keep them focused. Use the space for your own work or projects, too, or find another spot to be your personal “work space”.
Focus on Time Management
One of the most important and too often overlooked elements of self-care is getting enough sleep, not to mention it’ll help stave off colds during the quickly approaching cold season. I know, it’s much easier said than done. To start, try to go to bed at the same time every night and to start relaxing an hour before bed: take a hot bath or read a book.
Along with creating a space for work, create a schedule for it, too. Make sure your afternoon schedule allows time for snacks, work, chores, play, and relaxation. Create a weekly chore schedule for the family to avoid disputes over responsibilities. Pencil in “family time” everyday, or as often as you can, whether it’s dinner all together at 6:30 or a card game in the evening.
To help get the family up and out in the mornings, create a routine and stick to it. Encourage the kids to pack their bags and lie out their clothes the night before, and do that same for yourself. If time allows, make breakfast every morning. It’ll help get the family out of bed, out the door, and prepared for the day with a full stomach and alert mind.
This time of year can be hectic, but it can also be full of productivity. If their schedules aren’t already chock full, look into clubs and activities with the kids – a fulfilling after school activity can be one of the most rewarding aspect of school. Take advantage of all the positive, new energy by starting a project you’ve been putting off for a while, whether it’s something at work or at home. Inventory the kids’ and your wardrobes for a bit of fall cleaning. Get that physical or dentist appointment you’ve been putting off. September feels more like the beginning of the year than does January, so make some resolutions!
Most importantly, don’t forget to make time for self-care. Treat yourself to a spa day, start a new book you’ve been eyeing, splurge on a new fall outfit, or light a candle in your bedroom every night – even little acts of self care can work wonders for mental health.
Amidst all the busyness, don’t forget to take advantage of the wonderful season of fall in Massachusetts. Get the family together for fall activities like apple picking and pumpkin carving, and appreciate this busy, fruitful, beautiful time of year.