“... never send to know for whom the [school] bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
September always seems a bit daunting. It is frantic with get-ready activity, and full of expectation. It will always be the time of year when I feel the need to get my life together — bigger for me than New Year's resolutions. Even when I had finished school and before I had kids going to school, September meant something was starting. When I anticipate fall, I want to purge and move into organization-mode. My daughter is heading back this year and I am now going through her closet and printing out meal plans.
As the school year begins, it also makes one reflect on change. Each year your little — or not so little — ones are growing up.
Here are 16 ways to reflect, plan, and reduce stress and make this September—the other New Year—the healthiest of new beginnings.
1. Do a self care chart/schedule. Plan nice things to do for yourself daily. Stay tuned for my upcoming video with some how-to suggestions!
2. Fall is dry, so make sure you are adding enough oils to your diet, drinking enough water, and making transitions with your skin routine. Dan Thompson, beauty expert, suggests making these changes in the fall for winter preparation.
3. Take your cue from the sun and go to bed earlier. Dr. Kimberley Foster states that, “In the summer, bedtime tends to get pushed later and later, with lax schedules and longer daylight hours... Try gradually shifting bedtime earlier, by 15 minutes at a time, starting a week or so before school begins.” Her tips were for the kids, but not a bad strategy to get the whole family adapted.
4. Try to journal with morning pages. You can implement this activity today to help with clarity, organization, and creativity.
5. Note what is changing this year that you will mourn—kids starting full days of school, kids growing up, etc. Honour these changes and allow yourself to feel the loss and change.
6. Recognize what you are looking forward to—celebrate the changes, cute boots, fall leaves, apple picking, a more stable schedule, etc.
7. Talk about your relationship and cast vision for the future. Talk together about how it can improve and how you can grow this year as a couple.
8. Discuss back to school, or after holiday worries as a family. Here is a great list on how to address back-to-school anxiety.
10. Compose a morning routine schedule together with your family to avoid the morning school rush stress. Parenting expert Andrea Nair has a great example.
11. Purge. Purging has psychological benefits, as clutter is stressful. Princeton University did a study that showed that a messy environment affects productivity.
13. Get a realistic exercise plan. I often talk to my clients about creating a routine that is not rigid and overblown, which is hard to maintain and therefore guilt-inducing. Since time is difficult to find, here is a condensed workout from Dara Duff Bergeron.
15. Plan some family fun. Fun doesn't have to end just because summer has.
16. Don't over-schedule fall. Make a plan to not take too much on for yourself or your kids.
September doesn't have to be daunting. Use it as a time to remind yourself of self-care, cast vision for your family, reflect on new milestones, and improve upon and implement some old and new ideas.