3 Back to School Hacks to Set Yourself Up for an Awesome Year
Aug 20, 2018 | By: Melissa Hudson, LMFT
Summer is often a time when family memories are made, but it can also be exhausting as we deviate from our schedules. Sometimes getting back to school and the routine is welcomed.
Each new school year offers an opportunity to shift your routine and implement some new systems that leave the resources (time, energy, and money) to do the things you value most.
1. With a new school year, implement new routines that fit each child's level of development
In order to accomplish domestic harmony, everyone in the family should have a role and chores that just come with being part of the family. As kids grow, the tasks can change and/or expand. Once you may have been in charge of the morning routine for little Suzy, but now she can feed the dogs and turn on the coffee pot! Woot Woot!! Once you folded all the laundry, but now little Bobby can fold the laundry himself. And isn't it funny how motivated and efficient kids are when you say, "So no YouTube until you finish the laundry and put it away." Use those bundles of energy, while also teaching them responsibility and teamwork.
2. Evaluate the adults' routines and make changes
It's a great time for the adult(s) in the family to re-evaluate how their days and weeks are structured. Last year, I went back to a practice from my Army wife days...planning grocery buying for two weeks! And it has been a great time and money saver! I listed some go-to, favorite meals on a spreadsheet, calculated how many meals we really consume each week (because let's be real, we need our taco and pizza fix, so I don't cook every night), and then the list was pretty easy from there. I really wanted to alleviate so much work in the home--I felt like I was spending most of my non-working hours planning to work (laundry, groceries, cleaning, rinse and repeat back to work on Monday). And then, I decided to do something life-changing...I ordered my groceries online and just picked them up. Yes, there is a $5 charge, but when I calculated the time savings, it was well worth it for me. So I encourage you to take a look at how you do things and see if you can find time savers, too.
3. Plan Self Care Now
Self-care is critical to staying healthy mentally and emotionally. Self-care most basically is paying attention to you in a way that ensures that you are able to recharge, enjoy your life, and infuse your life with restorative meaningful purpose. Without self care, we are often teetering on burnout, exhaustion, resentment, or surviving to survive. That's no way to live and it catches up. But let's face it, self-care often falls to the bottom of the pile--let's change that! Just like anything that you value, that matters to you, plan for it. How often do you allocate to get away? Whether it is a big trip, a visit to family, a road-trip, staycation, a girls/guys night...A good rule of thumb for scheduled downtime is an hour/day, one day/week, and one week/12 weeks. I know, I know, that can be hard to carve out. And maybe you are in a phase of life that it's not feasible. But if you can't carve out one day/week, then one day/every other week. Make a concerted effort to make time for you. There are so, so many options for self-care activities. Pinterest or a simple Google search will help you get started if you need help brainstorming self-care ideas. For me, I love to rest, to indulge in entertainment, whether TV or a podcast, to spend time with my pets, to take a creative class, to travel, and to rest some more. I work hard and I'm kind to myself in my off hours.
So think about what you would like to be different this year from last. How has the family changed? Try some new strategies out, keep what works, revise or ditch what doesn't.
Here's to a wonderful 2018-2019 school year!
About the author: Melissa Hudson, Ph.D.(c) is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Plano, Texas specializing in couples counseling, anxiety disorders, and depression. She also works with adults and families on a full spectrum of concerns. Have questions? Want to sort out your life, family, or relationships? Give me a holler! firstname.lastname@example.org | 214-235-8175 | www.counselingsolutionstexas.com