How do you feel about back to school season?
There’s a wide range of emotion about the beginning of a new school year to where it seems to truly be a love-hate relationship.
As a parent, you love the extra time with your kids over the summer, but you also love watching your kids reconnect with friends and classmates at the beginning of the year.
You love watching your child learn new things each year, but it’s one step closer to the dreaded college send-off.
It’s also great getting your children back in routine and on a more consistent schedule, but JEEZ! can it create some chaos.
While it might seem hard for your kids to adjust to earlier bedtimes and the school year morning routine, do you ever look at how it influences your routine?
Summer is a chaotic season.
It’s a routine buster.
And if I’m being honest, summer is a killer to most fat loss and workout goals.
Vacations, family reunions, weddings, rooftop patios, ice cream, BBQs, and cabin
SO many people tell me that they’ll be ready to kick things off once the school year starts up again.
You know, once things calm down.
But do things REALLY calm down once the school year starts?
Between school and all the after school activities, you’re really just packing your chauffeur hours into a smaller window of time.
I see a lot of parents who start the school year off SUPER motivated to get back on track with their goals as the kids are off to school.
Unfortunately, I see too many parents making the same mistake.
Parents don’t always make adjustments to their schedule to account for the back-to-school year changes, so eventually things like workouts and meal planning get worked out of the schedule.
Everyone looks to help kids prepare for the back-to-school changes. It’s all over the news, the Internet, and social media.
But not too often do you hear anything about preparing the parents, and truthfully, these might be the individuals who need it most.
Hate to break it to you, but adults have a much harder time adapting than most kids.
Sure, your kid will be tired and forget a lunch here and there, but they’ll still get up and get to all of his or her activities.
You don’t see kids pushing sports, choir rehearsal, or time with friends out of their schedule.
One of the perks of being a kid is having this incredible ability to adapt!
Maybe you are one of these parents, I want to help you start off this school year right and not reach the point where you feel you need to sacrifice your workouts or health.
Whether you like it or not, your schedule is about to change, and it will probably change one, two, or maybe even three more times during the school year. In preparation for those changes, here are seven tips to make the change in schedule a successful time for you and your kids.
Do you ever feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants?
The start of a school year is full of chaos and schedule change.
The best way to manage the schedule change and to avoid feeling like you’re moving frantically from one place to the next is by mapping out your schedule.
Pick one day of the week to look at your schedule for the entire week.
Map out what your work schedule looks like in consideration of meetings, travel, early mornings, and late nights.
Look at the schedule for your kids. What activities and running around do you need to account for?
Point out any other commitments – date nights, family gatherings, time with friends, or activities you take part in.
Finally, and if you’re really looking to jumpstart your fat loss goals, settle on time for workouts and meal prep.
This last one requires you to determine the number of workouts, the amount of time for your workouts, and when you’ll be meal prepping.
Laying it all out beforehand allows you to really evaluate your time and commitments before it’s in front of you.
Too often, when things not a part of your routine come up in a period of chaos, you push them aside in hope of eliminating stress.
Unfortunately, you then feel behind, stressed, and disappointed that you skipped it.
Take out the emotion of your schedule, map out your week, and commit to the activities in your schedule.
This helps to settle you into a routine and makes the many activities seem much more manageable.
Schedule change typically means a change in activity level, and not in a good way….
You know exercise and physical activity are good for you; however, it’s one of the first things to get put on the back burner when there’s a change in schedule or routine.
“I’ll get back to it, I just need to get settled in my routine.”
What if activity was a staple of your routine? What if it was something that no matter what the schedule, there is always some form of daily activity?
Think of the bare minimum or the smallest thing that you can make a part of your daily routine for activity.
Maybe it’s a walk with the dog or kids.
Maybe you commit to standing up and going for a walk around the office every hour.
If could be as simple as taking 10 minutes in the morning to stretch and do a few exercises.
The point is that it’s something simple.
Something so easy, you almost can’t exclude it from your routine.
When you’re adjusting to changes in schedule, it can truly be a challenge to set aside an hour every day for a workout. During those times, take comfort in knowing that you are still doing something for your body each day because that small form of activity is a permanent part of your routine.
Plan for YOU Time
The only thing removed from a schedule more quickly than workouts is “Me Time.”
Back-to-school is about organizing and settling kids into their new routine.
Too often this comes at the price of time for yourself.
As a parent, employee, friend, coworker, or really any role, there’s a tendency to put the needs of others before your own.
This time of year applies a multitude of stresses on your body; therefore, it might be more important than ever to set aside time for yourself.
You can do this when you map out your weekly schedule.
Find a time that works for you and that can be uninterrupted.
Most often, I recommend first thing in the morning.
Get yourself up out of bed, and really tune in to what your body needs.
Read a book, go for a walk, do some light stretching, meditate, or just sit quietly. The point is to be alone with yourself, allow your body to relax, and set yourself up in a clear mindset.
One of the biggest nutritional mistakes I hear people make during the back to school year phase is not packing enough food or snacks.
I get it. You’re running around trying to pack for the kids and everyone else that you forget about yourself.
That’s why I recommend keeping some ‘Secret Snacks.’
What this means is that the next time you make a trip to the grocery store pick up some packable or easy grab-n-go snacks for yourself.
Think nuts, trail mixes, dried fruits and veggies, jerky, granola bars, or protein powders to keep in the car, at your desk, or in your purse.
Here are some of my top recommendations for grab-n-go snacks.
Remember, that while you may not have complete control over your schedule, you do have control of how you fuel yourself. Don’t leave yourself hungry or dropping dimes in the vending machine by keeping a stash of Secret Snacks.
Sleep Is a Priority
Adjusting bed times is the biggest thing I hear parents stress about to their kids come the end of summer.
But the truth is that most parents need to adjust their bed times too!
Summers are about staying up later and hitting snooze, but that luxury doesn’t continue into the school year.
Most parents are up earlier than their kids running around trying to help get them out the door, and I’m willing to bet parents didn’t go to bed any earlier than their kids.
This time of year is all about change and stress, which means the body needs sleep to recover and prepare for the next day of stress.
Turn off the TV, the phone, and the laptop and create a nighttime routine that will wind you down and set you up for a relaxing night of sleep.
It is no less important for you to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep than it is for your kids.
Know at what time the electronics go off and your nighttime routine begins.
Commit to it.
Because the reality is that whatever it is that you’re doing instead of sleeping, can probably wait, and if it can’t then it becomes a topic of time management and organization.
Up to this point, the conversation has been about creating a routine, but what happens when something goes awry?
Yes, routine is important.
Yes, a routine can keep you on track and organized.
However, there is something to be said about being flexible.
Do the best you can to stick to your routine, but understand that things will change, your day will be thrown off, and all you can do is adjust and adapt with a focus of doing the best you can given the scenario.
What Can You Control
The last, and maybe most important, thing to remember as the school kicks into full force, is to focus on what you can control.
Schedules go awry and you’re asked to be flexible because you cannot ever have complete control of your day.
The only things you will ever have control over is how you prepare for each day, the effort you give, and mindset with which you approach the day.
If you begin the year unprepared and never spend a minute reviewing your schedule, you will be stressed.
If you don’t prioritize on getting into a routine yourself, don’t expect routine to just step into your life.
If you approach every day telling yourself you’re too busy, you will always be too busy to truly enjoy life and succeed when your schedule changes.
The school year is full of change and excitement, but don’t let that change and excitement only be for your kids.
Use this as a time to go after your goals, set a schedule for yourself where you can make your fat loss and health goals a priority, and start living a life of health and happiness alongside your kids this school year.