School is back, and with it more normality than we have all had in a long time (we hope). It’s a really wonderful thing, and something that many parents will be relieved to get back to. However, school has its own challenges, for students, parents and kids. So, what are the little things you can do to help manage your stress levels and improve daily wellness for your whole family?
It’s so easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits in the busy working week, especially as a parent putting kids first. This is where batch cooking and/or meal planning can be a game changer. It can also help you to save money on your shopping. One blog in the US estimated that planning can save as much as $1,600 a year for a typical sized family! Just think of all those unnecessary trips to coffee shops and takeaways for sandwiches or ready made meals. Planning at the start of the week means that you don’t need to think at the end of a chaotic day and are less likely to default into something that doesn’t make you feel good.
Screen time is the conundrum of the modern age, isn’t it? It’s necessary, it’s wonderful, it facilitates a whole new way of living and working. However, it can also add to our stress levels, cause us to compare our lives with impossible standards and it can disrupt our sleep – which doesn’t help anything. It’s necessary but it’s also something that needs to be managed. No one else can tell you how best to organise your time, but setting boundaries for screen time won’t do any harm, especially before bed. Just in case you weren’t aware of the amount of time you’re looking at your phone, that helpful (galling?) little update will come through each week to tell you.
Exercise is much more likely to happen if it’s planned. When you have kids, it’s easy for other people to tell you to plan, but so often it goes to pot. Planning exercise doesn’t have to be totally rigid and it doesn’t have to be excessive. It’s an amount of time that’s about you and getting out of your own head. That might mean 15 minutes, three times a week using an app to give you structure. If it doesn’t happen on Monday, you have six other days to make that happen – morning, lunch or evening.
This applies to managing your time around busy school terms as much as it does around work and every other aspect of your life. It’s almost impossible to get all the things done that you want to in any given week, but planning really is the key (and even then, stuff will come up). For example, if you have people invite you out five evenings a week or multiple events at a weekend, set a few boundaries (with yourself as much as other people), and schedule things out. Sometimes that means missing out, but that’s ok, and most people will appreciate the power of putting a date in the diary for another time.
Having things to look forward to is such an important part of wellbeing. Like a daydream, it’s like a mini holiday for your brain. It’s about escapism, but when you put plans in the diary it’s a daydream you know will be reality. Everyday wellness is vital, but planning things to make you feel good in the future – the bigger ticket items – is the cherry on top. That might be a day of relaxation or a week-long holiday, but either way it’s about bringing you back to yourself, giving you a sense of restoration and adding a touch of excitement to the everyday.
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