I am generally not a super organized meal planner. In my dream world, I would shop European-style at a market every day, deciding what to cook for each meal based on what looked the most delicious. In reality, I am a busy working mom of two boys who are involved in sports and music and other activities. Europe will have to wait.
During the first few weeks back to school, I like to add some structure to our meals. Sometimes, it's as simple as assigning each evening a theme:
Pick your clothes
Another quick way to lessen decision fatigue is to spend a few minutes on Sunday to plan what I want to wear to work that week. You might be the sort of person who literally puts each day on a hanger, maybe you make a list on your phone, or perhaps (me) you just collect each outfit in your head. Even if you aren't this organized on a regular basis, it's so helpful to think ahead this time of year.
I always find that during my first two weeks of school, before students show up, my days are so varied. One day I might be at a district in-service and the next, I'm rearranging furniture. Putting some thought into clothing choices forces me to consider each day and start planning beyond my outfits as well.
Take some time for self-care
For many of us, self-care is a key and often overlooked component of a successful re-entry into the school year. Collaborating with colleagues, planning for the school year, unpacking a new classroom, meeting a new batch of students, all the while getting your own family back into the school routine takes an incredible amount of time and energy. I challenge you to take 10 minutes out of each day for you and you alone. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and try out a meditation app (I like Headspace). Step away from your desk at lunch and take a short walk. Come to a full stop at home and read book for a bit (pleasure reading is key here--no professional books allowed). As the year progresses, you will hopefully be able to find more time to devote to yourself, but aim to carve out 10 minutes a day in these first few weeks back to school.
And, if you already devote 30-60 minutes a day to your long established exercise routine, stay consistent and keep on doing you.
Hold on to summer
I go back to work a full two weeks before my own children start school. My tendency is to storm full speed into our scheduled year with earlier bedtimes for all. I think, however, it helps to maintain a bit of a summer mindset -- have dinner at the pool one night, stay out catching fireflies, roast marshmallows in a backyard firepit, plan to go to a baseball game or river tubing on the weekend. Find moments to hold on to the freedom of summer.
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We hope that all of our readers have a wonderful school year and would love to hear your strategies for ensuring a smooth transition from summer. Happy back to school to all!
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