Ohhh Back to School, Back to School...
“Ohhhh back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I’m not a fool”—Adam Sandler in Billy Madison
This is the week that many kids dread, and parents are out celebrating— it’s back to school time!
With back to school it usually means earlier bedtimes, parents trying to remember what they learned in math to help their kiddos, and a much crazier schedule with drop off and pick up times, sports and PTO meetings. With all of the craziness surrounding the beginning of the school year, it’s important that you don’t let your health slide. Here are a few helpful tips with some topics associated with health and wellness (that can also be used for those who do not have kids or school-aged kiddos):
7-9 hours of sleep/night is recommended for adults, with younger kids requiring more. I know the insomniacs who are reading this are laughing, however, it is important that you aim for enough hours of restful sleep. Here are some helpful tips for you/family to work towards those ZZZ’s:
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Your body will recognize the pattern, and it will help to facilitate the habit.
- Cool and dark—this is the best environment for you to get some shut eye.
- Watch caffeine and exercise. Caffeine and exercise too close to bedtime may keep your mind and body racing, and make sleeping more of a challenge. On the flip side, exercise earlier in the day may help to lull you into a restful slumber.
- Watch electronics. The buzzing, beeping and blinking of a phone or tablet may be enough to keep you awake. Turn the device off before bedtime or remove from the bedroom all together. (Don’t be that person sending 2 a.m. emails!)
This can be a touchy subject with back to school and crazy schedules. Families may be relying on fast food more frequently for the convenience factor, although this tends to not be as healthy. Keeping up with good nutrition will ultimately help to keep everyone healthier, happier, and receiving all of the vitamins and nutrients that one needs daily. Use these tips to keep good nutrition a priority without sacrificing time:
Use pre-cut fruits and vegetables. They may be a bit more expensive at the store, but the time you will save with cutting and preparing these foods will save on stress. If you have a few extra minutes during your week, grab some fruits and vegetables and cut/package them yourself into snack-size containers. Done, and done!
- Meal planning. Plan your meals weekly, and do the grocery shopping one time with a list of all ingredients that you need, so that you are not running to the store multiple times OR getting home from a long day, and staring into the refrigerator abyss saying “what are we going to eat tonight?!” This is your opportunity with planning to be conscientious of early/late nights AND to be able to plan around those meetings and sporting events.
- Use a crock pot. This is my favorite appliance in my kitchen, and I use my crock pot at least once a week. It’s an easy way to throw everything into one place, and magically have it done as soon as you get home. Easy prep, easy clean up—great meal. There are TONS of recipes online for crock pots! Plus, fall usually means soups and stews, which is perfect in a crock pot.
- Utilize farmers markets. Although the market season will be winding down in the not-too-near future, now is a great time to shop the markets. Corn, apples, carrots, peppers, okra, beans, and many other vegetables are in their peak, and many of the fall staples are right around the corner!
You are likely getting more exercise now chasing kids in the morning, helping to get them to school, picking them up after school and wrestling them to bed. It’s important for all family members to be active daily, for 30-60 minutes. Here are some tips to keep the focus on getting your heart rate up daily:
- Schedule fitness classes/exercise time for you. If you are the type of person that needs a class or people around you to exercise, find a class that fits in your schedule and stick to that time. If you enjoy exercising on your time, make sure to ‘pencil in’ that time for you, and treat it as an immovable appointment.
- Get moving while the kids are moving. Do you kids have set practice schedules? Use that time to hit the gym, or go to pick them up early and take a walk around the block or school. You can see if other parents of the kids on the team want to join you for that accountability factor.
- Weekends. Find fun activities for your family to participate in. Head to the park, or a hiking trail. Join the kids outside playing basketball, football or even tag.
- Sign up for a 5k walk/run. Early fall/fall are wonderful times to get outside and get moving with the lower temperatures and humidity, and the beauty of the trees also! (Bonus…race t-shirt!)
Stress may be at an all-time high with going back to school, and a jammed-packed extra-curricular calendar. It’s important to recognize that some stress is ok, but when it gets to be too much, then it can be an issue to yourself and to others around you.
- Take time for you. Whether this is a massage or pedicure, an exercise session, a lunch date with a friend, or even a bubble bath behind a locked door—allows yourself the time to relax and to clear your mind daily.
- Car-pool. Check with your kid’s friend’s parents if they want to alternate weeks picking up or dropping off from school or sports. This will save on fuel, give you a little extra time to yourself AND the kids get to hang with their friends. Win, win!
- Schedule. Keep a schedule with you of all of the family activities and appointments, and use this as a guide daily. This is your opportunity to schedule in homework time, meals/eating, and exercise. This will hopefully help to lower stress that you are forgetting something, and can keep everyone on task.
- Sleep, exercise, and good nutrition—when these are all in check, it will help to keep stress levels lower and more manageable.
What do you do with your family to keep all of these health and wellness topics in check daily/weekly?
Until next time friends!