Is "back to school" making you "back off" your health goals?
With grown kids, I find it bittersweet that the "back to school" days are over for me. It was always a hectic and exhausting couple of weeks, but there was something exciting about the fresh start to a new year. You may not know this, but I was a school librarian for almost 15 years. So it was a double whammy of stress, exhaustion, and excitement.
I think we underestimate how stressful the back to school season is. And at the same time, we have amnesia about it. Every year, we forget how tiring and stressful it's going to be. And when we're stressed and tired, what's the first thing to go? Yup. Our health. We don't have time to exercise. We're too tired to cook. We forget to drink our water. Most if not all of our plan goes out the window.
Maybe this year, we can approach it a little different, so that we're setting ourselves up for success instead of feeling like a failure. Here are a few things you can do to sustain the back to school season and feel good about your efforts"
1 Reassess your priorities. Be realistic. Set one or two extremely manageable goals. (ex: get my water in, just focus on some steps, avoid snacking)
2 Make an action plan to achieve your realistic priorities. Schedule, plan, strategize the WHEN, WHERE and HOW for each one. (ex: walk while Mary is at soccer practice, drink 40oz of water by lunch and another 40oz by bedtime, buy some easy breakfasts and make time to eat my lunch)
3 Celebrate those small success at the end of the day and be kind to yourself about things that didn’t go as well. Focusing on the positives is going to help your mindset for the next day. Choosing to focus on the negatives will not.
4 Remember this season is only temporary. Give it two or three weeks getting settled into the new routine, and then you can get back to doing more if you choose to.
5 Lastly, use these affirmations to keep your mind in a healthy place! Repeat them to yourself. Write them on your bathroom mirror remind you that you can be kind, flexible, and still focused.
Note: This concept isn't just for the back to school season. Any big change in life like a new job, a move, any life event that disrupts our routine is a stressful season. Instead of putting off our health goals during that time, we can decide to be more flexible with our goals and kinder to ourselves, while still keeping our eye on the ball.