Summer sun, summer nights, summer fun, summer hours. You can add any word to summer and it’s just good! Try it. Summer food. Summer love. Summer buzz. Summer songs. It goes on and on. The words that seem to really sting when added to summer are the ones with the most finality like endand over. When people say “the end of summer” this and “the end of summer” that, it’s like a dagger to many teachers, kids, parents, people with summer Fridays or just those who remember the long and lazy days when cares seemed to melt away like sunscreen on hot skin or ice cream dripping down your arm.
The beginning of something new like back to school, back to work, back to life and back to reality can carry with it the weight of a thousand bricks and anticipation of, well, something new. But, it needn’t be that way. First off, the summer weather lasts through practically October. Summer gardens are stillbearing fruit and veggies. No need for a total wardrobe makeover just yet, and you can still hit the farmer’s markets and think seasonally when shopping and preparing foods.
Keeping calm while the inevitable – like the seasons – change largely comes down to your outlook and how you choose to frame things. What if you vowed to maintain a more laid back approach while stepping back into action? Perhaps overdrive is not needed, at least not until the holidays.
What if you kept up with some of the aspects of fitness that are serving you instead of throwing them overboard the minute September starts? Walking, running and biking weather sticks around for a while, so don’t lock yourself indoors. Perusing pictures of summer adventures might keep your spirits high. Continuing to embrace the foods that are still in season helps with the transition and you might consider adding some home brewed, iced green tea to your routine for an extra boost.
Back to school is a really fun time for families, but it’s easy to get thrown off by how many things need to happen right around the start of the new school year. Be organized, plan ahead and don’t worry too much since back to school is only really about a week long. Rationally speaking, once kids are back in school, they are back in school. The press, commercials, catalogs and social media would have you believe that back to school lasts for four months. But, it really just comes down to supplies, systems and state of mind.
Systems are good. Consistency and routine are your friends when you’re back to schooling. It will help you; it will help the kids, your co-workers and significant others. And your calm, cool-as-a-cucumber mentality will rub off on your young ones who might be feeling antsy, anxious or arranging an in-house protest.
Get your snack game together for your kids and yourself. Purchase any new Earth-friendly water bottles, bento boxes and such in advance. It’s nice to start as new season with a new lunch or snack bag. They can get pretty yucky after a while. Things seem to seep into the seams. Donate items that are still in fairly good condition and have the labels with names on hand. Remember, what was popular with your kiddos last year might not be welcome in their lunch bags this year. Talk to your kids about the kind of healthy, yummy snacks they will actually enjoy and eat. God only knows the true quantity of unwanted snacks that never see the light of day. You owe it to yourself to get organized with your snacks.
When adults get busy they forget to eat, binge and eat things they are often ashamed of admitting. But if you do a little meal prep you set yourself up for good health. Packing lunches or snacks are such a good way to ensure good health, keep your weight in check and provide energy boosts when needed. Diced fruit and veggies, cooked lentils, grilled chicken, bananas, avocadoes and cooked whole grains are all things that are good to have prepped. Once prepped, you can mix and match making salads, quick soups, smoothies, rice or quinoa bowls. It’s all so simple to toss together when you’re prepped and ready.
Don’t skimp on sleep as things get busy. A charged battery will make the “getting back to it” seem a lot easier. Try to grab an extra hour, if possible. Don’t eat too late; try to kick the blue light addiction and put down the gadgets before bed for heaven’s sake. A little classical music or Bossa Nova before bed is never a bad idea and make sure you rock a good wholesome breakfast.
Getting your kids back on schedule doesn’t have to be stressful either. Ease back in. It’s hard to get everyone sleeping when the sun is screaming, “come out and play” until 9 p.m. Dial back bedtime a little each night and in a few weeks you should be in good shape. Getting your Cozi, Apple or Google Calendar organized will help you unwind at night and keep you collected in the morning because you won’t be stressing over what’s next. A paper/book calendar like people had in the olden days of stationary stores might actually make for even more calm, relaxed days ahead. Sometimes the tactile feel of holding your thoughts, schedules and lists and actually writing them down can be very good practice.
If you feel work, life, school, events, obligations, laundry or the sheer volume of responsibility closing in on you, talk to your friends, family or partner, make sure you are getting some air, some exercise and, most importantly, sit yourself down, take some deep breaths and remember it will all get done. And, if it doesn’t, everything will probably still be OK.
A little meditation in the morning (or whenever the heck you can sneak it in) will really center you, cleanse and calm your mind and bring you back to yourself. Sitting on the ground is a really easy way to connect with the Earth and help you feel grounded. So, as you embrace this moment and the next, remember that you are in charge. You don’t have to let others sweep you up in their madness and drama. Keep calm, carry on and soon you’ll be picking pumpkins and sipping cider with the best of them.
By Stacie Rose